the death of Reading Rainbow
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The final episode of Reading Rainbow's 26 year run aired today. As someone who grew up watching this show (I was only 6 months old when it started), I'm sadden to see it go. It was such a wonderful show for children. It didn't pander, instead choosing to highlight actual issues that children deal with, such as poverty and step-parents, in a way that was educational and entertaining without being sugary.
And the book segments were spectacular! I always loved how they shot those sequences. And how they had recommendations from other kids, not just a bunch of grown-ups telling kids what they should read. LaVar Burton should receive some sort of medal for his dedication to the series.
NPR's Ben Calhoun did a segment on Reading Rainbow for Morning Edition. It's a good piece. He writes, "the funding crunch is partially to blame, but the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration, he explains, which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling. Grant says that PBS, CPB and the Department of Education put significant funding toward programming that would teach kids how to read — but that's not what Reading Rainbow was trying to do. 'Reading Rainbow taught kids why to read,' Grant says. 'You know, the love of reading — the show encouraged kids to pick up a book and to read.'
So it's ultimate downfall was that it recognized that it couldn't do everything at once and choose to focus on the one aspect that no one else was even tackling before Harry Potter changed everything? That's the grounds for canceling a show that gave my generation (and those that have come after us) something educational and literary that we WANTED to watch on Saturday morning? That's a hard pill to swallow. Shouldn't Sesame Street be getting a repremand if kids aren't learning phonics and spelling? That's their area of speciality anyway.
"But you don't have to take my word for it."
Goodbye Reading Rainbow. 1983-2009
I was also sad when I heard this news. That era of PBS was such a cozy time for kids growing up. I was introduced to so many of the picture books that I hold dear thanks to it. The little rainbow stamp on the cover of a book featured on it was the greatest recommendation you could give me.
I hope it'll still be in reruns.
nope, even reruns are over. they haven't had a new episode in 3 years, but it was still showing reruns. now even that's over. it's such a shame.
It's a pity -- I think I learned a lot from that show. What, the love of reading a good book wasn't enough on it's own merit? When we concentrate ONLY on the phonics and grammer, then we loose sight of the joy that lead us to read the book in the first place. I think that's why some older kids hate to read -- they have to write a book report every time they turn around to explain why the story is 'significant.' And then people wonder that the kids just want to veg in front of the TV...
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