Reading Rainbow canceled after 26 year run
The show’s run is ending, Grant explains, because no one — not the station, not PBS, not the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — will put up the several hundred thousand dollars needed to renew the show’s broadcast rights.
Grant says the funding crunch is partially to blame, but the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration, he explains, which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling.
Grant says that PBS, CPB and the Department of Education put significant funding toward programming that would teach kids how to read — but that’s not what Reading Rainbow was trying to do.
“Reading Rainbow taught kids why to read,” Grant says. “You know, the love of reading — [the show] encouraged kids to pick up a book and to read.”
So sad to read this news! Reading Rainbow was one of my very favorite shows growing up. Just watching the opening credits to the show gives me the tingles. I saw Lavar Burton on a Star Trek movie last night, and I immediately thought about him in Reading Rainbow episodes.
My favorite part of the show was the “you don’t have to take my word for it” part, where ordinary kids would recommend a favorite book to read. They would always end their mini-book-review with the saying, “you don’t have to take my word for it!” Secretly I would fantasize about me being on camera, and which book I would recommend (my recommendations would change, week by week).
[hey, but isn't "you don't have to take my word for it" the best skeptical mantra a kid could have? It encouraged kids to listen to the review, but then check out the book for yourself. I must have been destined to be a skeptic from a young age, I tell ya.]
Anyway, even though I haven’t thought about Reading Rainbow for years now, there’s a big part of me that’s sad about its passing. Now that I’ve got a little one of my own, I’m hoping I’ll be able to pass on the love of reading that was given to me at a young age.
I suppose, for now, Emma (and I) will have to settle for the elusive episode I can find online, and for a few of these box sets I found on Amazon.