Last week, I was saddened to hear that after 26 years, one of my favorite TV shows from childhood, Reading Rainbow, was going off the air. I don’t have kids and I don’t babysit anymore, so I haven’t kept up with the show. Still, I was upset, outraged, sad and disheartened to hear the news. I don’t quite understand the philosophy that we need to focus on teaching children how to read before we teach them why we read. Don’t they go hand-in-hand? If we don’t try to instill a love of reading a young age, how can we expect to kids to enjoy reading when they are older? Granted, this is something that should be taught not just from a TV show, but from teachers and especially parents. But should there not be at least one program on air showing kids how awesome books and reading can be? I can vividly recall watching LeVar Burton talk about a book and being so excited about it I wanted to check it out of the library right away. And who wasn’t insanely jealous of the kids who came on at the end of show to recommend a book?
(I would have done a much better job than that kid. First of all, I would have picked this book by Robert Ballard, which is, like, a THOUSAND times better then the book he recommended. Even 8 year old Christine knew that. But don’t take my word for it. *ba dah dum*)
The same evening I heard about Reading Rainbow’s demise, I went to my favorite bookstore to find a couple board books for a certain someone I know who will be turning two next month. I scoured the shelves, looking for old favorites and discovering new books I wanted for myself. I was ecstatic to find a title I dearly loved when I was a wee little girl and a great, enormous smile broke across my face when I pulled it off the shelf and saw the cover:
I’ve never met you LeVar Burton, but you and Reading Rainbow made my world a happier place. Thanks for all the books and the great memories.