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There Is No Pot of Gold at the End of the Reading Rainbow

The recession has claimed another victim: Reading Rainbow hosted by LeVar Burton. After 26 years of sparking a love of books in children across the country, the last show aired on PBS yesterday (Friday) due to "contract expiration," though John Grant, who is in charge of content at WNED Radio Buffalo (Reading Rainbow's home station), stated that "the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming."

What a bunch of bunk. Thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act we are now going to focus on the mechanics of reading, not the enjoyment of it. Great. Maybe it's just because I was (and still) am such a voracious reader when I was little that I'm so affected by this. Not only that, but I watched every single episode of Reading Rainbow and practically grew up with it. Sure, I'm being nostalgic, but it was a great show, and I feel like our youth is further doomed than I stated in an earlier post.

Why do I feel like reading is on its way out?

For the Reading Rainbow enthusiast:

We'll see you next time.


JujuJuniper said…
Like the ancient art of letter writing (I mean, who knows how to create a well-constructed, personal, meaningful letter in the days of the quick and concise email that is usually riddled with punctuation and spelling errors?), I think reading anything in print form is kind of slowly becoming extinct. It's like we're going back to the era of hieroglyphics, where a picture symbol negates the need for words or whatever.

Today, there is such a global market now that, for communication purposes, there needs to be some sort of universal language. Then we get into what certain meanings are associated with certain images according to culture, but that's a whole other story. I'm not saying this is a good thing. You know me. I love my books as much as you do. And this does make me sad. I love Lavar Burton. :(
Stef Howerton said…
I know. I see the benefits of an image-based world. Communication is easier and so on, but I don't know. I just feel like a certain amount of intelligence is quickly being lost.

The funny thing is that Idiocracy is playing on Comedy Central right now, and it actually doesn't seem that far off. Oy.
Anonymous said…
Idiocracy is genius. It should be obvious why nobody has heard of it...

Sesame Street is the only show I can think of from PBS that has had an impact on the UK. God, I loved that show when I was was wee. Even if you people don't know how to pronounce ZED. Kid's PBS would be bigger in the rest of the English-speaking world if you'd just admitted your spelling and pronunciation was wrong and fell in line with the rest of us. Anyway...

It's LeVar Burton. LaVar would make him feminine in French. Or was that some surreptitious polyglottal dig at his masculinity?

I went and read your library/Kindle post. I love it when you kids start ranting about "you kids". I LIVED in the library as a brat, but I've wholly embraced ebooks. You don't know how lucky you are. In the US the Sony Reader even lets you "borrow" library books, from libraries that are equipped to "lend" digital editions. The Kindle is a closed product. As much as I love Amazon, they're flogging a dead horse with that one. The Kindle will have to open up to other online stores, or it'll be a blip on the chart of ebook progress.

Ebooks are the future and they're levelling the playing field when it comes to publication. Nobody is going to make as much money, but more people are going to make some money, with ebooks.

Reading Rainbow I have never heard of. We used to have a show, long dead now, called Jackanory in the UK that was run five days a week with an actor reading a particular story.

Oh, apparently it's back.

I loved that show, but it pre-dated any interest I had in books. That came later.
Stef Howerton said…
Anton, yes, I am young. I am reminded of my ignorance and inexperience every day I breathe, so that was no news to me. :) That being said, however, the simple fact of being young does not mean that I cannot comment on my generation and where we're headed.

What I think you didn't understand, though, is that I agree with you: ebooks are the future. I was merely stating that I preferred a real book to an electronic one. If I were given the chance to "borrow" a digital book or a printed book from the library my choice would always be the paper version.

And no, I wasn't digging surreptitiously at LEVar Burton's masculinity. Simple typo.

And about Z... Well, we're just going to have to disagree on that one. Yes, it is a derivative from the Greek symbol Zeta, but whatever... You say zed, I say zee. If you're going to go down that route, I will be forced to comment on some of the pronunciation blunders that your people commit. I don't know about you personally, but I've heard plenty, thank you. In the end, it's a dialect thing, and I'm not going to landblast you for what I consider to be a mispronunciation because you were taught differently than I was.

I've never heard of Jackanory, but it sounds very similar to Reading Rainbow. As far as Sesame Street goes, I never really jumped on that bandwagon. I mean, it's great, sure, but I wasn't really a heavy tv watcher when I was little. There were a few select shows that I would watch (Reading Rainbow being one of them), but other than that I played outside or read instead.

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