Reading Rainbow was an American children's television series aired
from June 6, 1983 until November 10, 2006, that encouraged reading among
Each episode centered on a theme from a book or other
children's literature which
is explored through a number of segments or stories. The show also provided book recommendations for kids to look
for when they go to the library.
was hosted by actor and executive producer LeVar Burton
, who is also
known for his roles in Roots
and Star Trek: The Next Generation
. It was produced by On-Screen Entertainment
for executive producers WNED and Great
A regular feature was a children
's book narrated
by a noted celebrity. Some of the celebrities who have
read on the show
include Harold Littlebird (born in 1951) of New Mexico (The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush) and Michael Ansara (The Gift of the Sacred Dog, And Still the Turtle Watched).
Another segment of the show
featured Burton in different places talking to different people about
their work and other contributions, focusing on the theme of each episode.
The final segment of each show
, called Book Reviews
, began with Burton's introductory phrase, "But you don't have
to take my word for it," and features children giving
of books they recommend. Burton ended every show
with, "I'll see you next time."
's theme song was written by Steve Horelick, Dennis Neil Kleinman, and Janet Weir; Horelick also served as the series' music director and composer. The theme was sung by Tina Fabrik. The original opening, which depicted
a cartoon butterfly transforming the surroundings
of young children
reading books into cartoon fantasylands, was used
until 1999. Later episodes used
a new opening with the same theme song performed by R&B legend Chaka Khan
Larry Lancit, Shaune Lancit, was often featured in the series, most notably as the child thanking the sponsors at the end of the show.
years it had tackled issues that
other children's programs have
historically avoided, such as poverty
in U.S. inner cities, the September 11 attacks, childbirth
and its impact on the family, and prison, all from a child's point of view.