Reading Rainbow (Free)
The Reading Rainbow app offers
a new way for children to engage
with literature. A large library of
hundreds of books helps kids learn
how to navigate self-paced reading, engaging
animation, and professionally produced narration.
In addition to books, other content from Reading
Rainbow complements the learning experience,
including educational video field trips.
The app includes five free book downloads and
a sampling of video field trips, but to gain unlimited access to the library, you’ll have to subscribe
within the app, to the tune of $9.99 per month or
$29.99 for six months. Once you subscribe, up to
five children in a family can use the service at no
additional cost. Each child benefits from a customized reading experience, including a personalized
digital backpack, reading list, and individualized
tracking. The parent’s dashboard provides metrics
and insights into their child’s reading engagement.
recently had the opportunity to sit down with actor and
entrepreneur LeVar Burton at a Star Trek Convention in
Seattle. His latest title, and the one he’s most proud of, is
that of Co-founder and Curator-in-Chief of RRKidz, the digital multimedia company behind the Reading Rainbow brand.
Most of you likely recognize Bur-
ton not only from Star Trek: The
Next Generation (TNG), but also as
the narrator and host of the hit PBS
TV show Reading Rainbow. While
the show was discontinued in 2009
after a 26-year run, that wasn’t the
end for Burton’s iconic brand. He
and his team at RRKidz launched
the Reading Rainbow app (free) in
June of 2012, and with it, introduced
a modern way for kids to appreciate
the age-old pastime of reading. RRKidz developed the app and
now helps convert the content and make deals with publish-
ers for access.
For Burton, transferring the experience of Reading Rainbow
to the iPad was a challenge he welcomed. Burton has long
been a tech and science-fiction enthusiast, and he loves seeing imaginary devices from his TNG days become a reality.
While playing Geordi La Forge on TNG, Burton was among
the first to handle the mock-ups some believe inspired the
iPad. These devices, known as PADDs, were non-working
props often littering the Starship Enterprise, though some received rotoscoping in post-production to illustrate sensor output or communications. As La Forge, Burton often employed
these devices to help repair the Enterprise’s overstressed
engineering systems. For Burton, these PADDs designed by
Rick Sternbach were interesting props; for Steve Jobs, they
were purportedly the inspiration behind the iPad.
Inspiring Kids to Read with iPads
An Interview with Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton
By Daniel W. Rasmus
IAbout the App