LeVar Burton Looking for $5 Million For ‘Reading Rainbow’

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If you’ve been wondering what Levar Burton is up to, he’ll be hitting your TV screens again on the third season of the TNT drama Perception.

This season, his role has been upgraded to that of a regular cast member. The show is a crime drama where a schizophrenic neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Daniel J. Pierce, played by Eric Cormack, is a FBI consultant.

Burton’s character, Paul Haley, is a cultural anthropologist who is his best friend. The third season begins tonight at 10 p.m. Burton says he’s directing two or three episodes this season as well.

But Burton is even more excited these days about his role in revitalizing Reading Rainbow, the PBS show that ran for 26 years. In a recent Kickstarter campaign, Burton raised $1 million in less than 24 hours for a revitalized version of Reading Rainbow.

He’s now looking to raise $5 million for the program and has already gotten past $3 million with 15 days left.

“It’s not a television show anymore. If you want to reach today’s kids, you have to use today’s technology. Two years, ago, we launched The Reading Rainbow app, on the Kindle Fire and the Apple iPad,” Burton told the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

“It was designed to give us the ability to put the app on the web and develop a product specifically for classrooms for teachers to use everyday in the class with the kids. We reached our goal before dinner on the first day.”

Burton says that federal programs like No Child Left Behind focused more on the fundamentals of reading instead of what Rainbow did, which was inspire kids to enjoy reading – a subtle difference but a significant one.

“We were also famous for tying the literature that the kids were reading to the real world through the video field trip. We kind of pioneered the idea of using the medium of television to steer children back into the written word. We’ve done it very successfully for 31 years now through TV and now through this digital medium. We have kids reading about 184,000 books a week.”

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