[[caption-width-right:329:"Take a look, it's in a book..."]]

->''"I think reading is part of the birthright of the human being."''
-->--'''Creator/LeVarBurton''', actor and children's literacy advocate.

American children's EdutainmentShow that aired on Creator/{{PBS}} from 1983-2009[[note]]The last new episode was made in 2006.[[/note]], and whose goal was simple encourage children to read. It was hosted by co-creator Creator/LeVarBurton (yes, ''that'' [[Series/{{Roots}} Le]][[WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers Var]] [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Burton]]).

Each episode featured a children's story, usually narrated by a [[SesameStreetCred celebrity]], that focused on a specific theme (i.e., the importance of teamwork or learning about dinosaurs). The show would explore the theme further through various segments, live-action and animated. The last segment of the show would feature children providing recommendations of other books to look for at the library, preceded by [=LeVar=] saying "But you don't have to take my word for it." Every show ended with "I'll/We'll see you next time."

This show was part of PBS' "triple crown" of children's programming in TheEighties and TheNineties, along with ''Series/SesameStreet'' and ''Series/MisterRogersNeighborhood''. It would be difficult indeed to find an American of a certain age who didn't watch this program at least occasionally, if not regularly. It's in the same DudeNotFunny category as Rogers rarely parodied (but if it is, it's always [[AffectionateParody the positive kind]]), and insulting it will cause [[FlameWar swift and nasty responses]].

''Rainbow'' won a Peabody Award and 26 Emmys, and ended its run as the third longest-running children's program in PBS history (behind the aforementioned ''Sesame Street'' and ''Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'').

Five years after the show ended, Reading Rainbow has since been making a comeback as an internet-based outreach project. The project was started in 2012 with the goal of making Reading Rainbow content available on the iPad to everyone in the world. But as it progressed, feedback came in asking for the app to be available to more than just the iPad, and their ambitions grew, and the existing funding method of an optional low monthly fee for premium content proved to be insufficient (since said fee was already being used for funding the server space and content royalty). A Website/{{Kickstarter}} [[https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow/bring-reading-rainbow-back-for-every-child-everywh campaign]] for the project was started, and it reached its $1,000,000 goal ''[[SugarWiki/AwesomeMoments before the first day was finished]]''. As you can imagine, [[https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow/bring-reading-rainbow-back-for-every-child-everywh/posts/858121 Burton is overwhelmed by this support]]. In all, the project received over $5.4 million in donations and set a record for [[http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-reading-rainbow-the-most-popular-kickstarter-ever-20140702-story.html most individual backers]] for a Kickstarter campaign.

Reading Rainbow has a Youtube Page. You can get your Reading Rainbow fix [[https://www.youtube.com/user/readingrainbow/featured here.]] A selection of episodes from the original series is now available on {{Netflix}}, unfortunately with the inferior 2nd title sequence.
!!This show provides examples of:
* AnimatedCreditsOpening: Used until 1999.
* AffectionateParody: One of them was produced by [[http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/c61f805aa7/reading-rainbow-s-new-theme-song-with-levar-burton Funny Or Die]], starring [=LeVar=] himself, showing the problems of taking the theme song's "I can do anything" too literally.
* CatchPhrase: Three of them.
** "Hi!" (each episode begins with [=LeVar=] saying this word.)
** "But you don't have to take my word for it..."
** "I'll/We'll see you next time."
* ChromaKey: [=LeVar=] explains the technique in a 1991 episode about optical illusions.
* ClipArtAnimation: Utilized [[OncePerEpisode one book per episode]].
* {{Crossover}}: The episode "The Bionic Bunny Show" took us behind the scenes of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' [[note]]on which [=LeVar=] Burton, of course, played Geordi [=LaForge=][[/note]]. Notably, it included the only official HilariousOuttakes of TNG released for over a decade. TNG later completed the crossover by including this episode of ''Reading Rainbow'' as a bonus feature on the Blu-Ray of the second season.
* EdutainmentShow: One of the all-time greats; a TV show encouraging kids to read is not as hypocritical as it may sound.
* EverythingsBetterWithRainbows: Well, it would've been pretty lame to have a show just called ''Reading'', wouldn't it?
* ExcitedKidsShowHost: [=LeVar=] is Type 3 (informative, rarely condescending, not wacky/zany, speaks to children like adults).
* LongRunners: Spent 26 years on the air before budget cuts killed it in 2009. Funnily enough, ''Reading Rainbow'' outlived ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' by a few years (when you factor in the movies).
* LosingYourHead: A pair of floating heads startle [=LeVar=] in one episode.
* OutOfOrder: Two season 4 episodes that aired in 1986, "Animal Cafe" and "Watch the Stars Come Out", were actually shot during season 3 in 1985. The tell-tale signs are the style of end credits, and [=LeVar=] sporting a mustache and afro (he was clean-shaved and sporting a flat-top in all the episodes that ''were'' shot in 1986).
* {{Pilot}}: "Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport", which was shot in 1981, aired as the 8th episode of season 1 in 1983. It featured a completely different credit for a clean-shaved, younger-looking [=LeVar=], and a slightly different 3-note jingle for the book recommendation segment. Not to mention the videotape quality looks noticeably poorer in this episode, in contrast to the rest of season 1.
* {{Portal Book}}s: Obviously.
* ReadingIsCoolAesop
* RogerRabbitEffect: Used in the classic intro, although not to the same extent as others.
* SesameStreetCred: Many. Celebrity narrators ranged from Creator/BillCosby to Wrestling/HulkHogan.
** Notably, the entire cast of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' was featured in a 1988 episode that followed ''TNG'' behind the scenes...including a [[HilariousOuttakes gag reel]].
* TakeOurWordForIt: As the catchphrase indicates, averted.
* TitleSequenceReplacement: To the dismay of fans who know and love the original, trippy intro.
* TransAtlanticEquivalent: Long running BBC show ''Series/{{Jackanory}}'' which began in 1965 offered virtually the same format to British children.
->''"We'll see you next time."''