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I post daily (photos of my journal pages, things that inspire me and personal bits and pieces) to inspire and encourage others. I have always believed that if I can do it, so can you.

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I love teaching and truly believe that deep down inside everyone is an artist, capable of creating something. There is power and knowledge in the act of creating something with your own hands, made from your own heart and head.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

You don't have to take my word for it...

One of my favorite childhood television shows went off the air yesterday, after 26 years on the air. I remember watching Reading Rainbow when I was 8 years old. We were living in Weymouth, MA at my Grandpa's house on Colonial Road. I would sing the theme song (it's in my head now as I write this). I loved Levar Burton and trusted him with the books that they would talk about on the show. If Burton recommended it, I needed it. If one of the kids at the end of the show recommended it and they did a good job with the review, I needed it. (How many other TV shows had kids MY AGE recommending reading material?) I watched the show pretty much every time it was on, for years. I would sit enthralled for the full 30 minutes it was on (though it always felt much longer). It was like visiting with a friend and having such a good time, that you didn't want to go home.

I remember running to the library with lists (scribbled from the episode I had just watched) of books that I needed to check out. I didn't ever *ever* just take out one book. I took out dozens of books. I was the kid buried under a pile of books as she walked out of the library. I'm still the kid buried under piles of books in my little apartment.

Then, I grew up.

I had a baby of my own. One day, I turned PBS on and there was Levar Burton, just as if he had never left. He still had a smile on his face. He still was honest and real about teaching kids to LOVE reading. Not to read. No, he didn't teach reading. He taught something more important, the LOVE of reading. The DESIRE to read. The idea and notion that if you put a book in a child's hands, it was opening up a whole 'nother UNIVERSE for that child. You trusted him when he said, "But, you don't have to take my word for it." You did. You took his word. I did. I still do when I hear the theme song. It's like the 8 year old in me is off and running to the library, with her list in her hand, singing to herself, "Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high. Take a look, it's in a book. Reading Rainbow. I can go anywhere. Friends to know and ways to grow. Reading Rainbow."

More on Reading Rainbow-
NPR's story yesterday

I signed the petition to bring Reading Rainbow back, find out more here.


PaperPumpkin said...

I am so with you on this! I am singing the song in my head now, too. At a time when our children and our students need this love of books and reading more than ever (with video games, etc technology running rampant), Reading Rainbow is gone...how can this be? ~K

crimsoncat05 said...

...the NPR article says that "the mechanics of reading" is more important" but who cares if kids know HOW to read, if they don't WANT to read?? I signed!!

Anuan said...

Its amazing you should talk about reading rainbow. My kids have been singing the theme song for the whole week as we were remembering the TV shows and their songs that we used to watch when they were little.

It will be sad if they discontinued the show. Kids really like it.

Sarah said...

Hi Kelly,
How sad that this programme has gone. I have not heard of it before but it sounds great! I hope the petition works!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you posted this! I signed the petition and sent it to some others that I think will do the same and send it along. This isnt just a tv show it was an encouragment to turn off the tv and use your brain.. I know that after 25 years I can still sign the theme song too ;-)

Jessica said...

How sad. Reading Rainbow was one of my favorites too. I mean, a show about books, what's not to love. I remember falling in love with the book Simon's Book by Henrik Drescher. There was a whole segment on him and his artist's studio that enthralled me. And years later, in college, I stumbled upon his amazing book Turbulence and I realized how much of who I am now was already forming way back then. It's a shame, because now more than ever I'd think kids really need something tangible (not digital) to get excited about. Thanks for posting about the petition, I will take a look!

jane eileen said...

Jeane's mom said...
Levar, Well, that explains a lot. Now we know who to blame for your addiction. Seriously, seeing as how the government predicts the number of prison beds needed in upcoming years based on the number of children with reading problems in 3rd and 4th grade (YES, really.), this show ought to be one of the required interventions for those kids. If there is no money to fund it, we ought to put a cigarette like tax on video game systems to pay for it.