Program Overview & Introduction
READING RAINBOW is an educational series
designed to encourage and motivate young children to read good books and visit
their local libraries. The series has four design elements which form the basis
for each program's development. The first three elements are the adaptation of
excellent children's literature, the presentation of book related or on-site
location experiences, and the depiction of the library as a valuable resource.
The remaining element, the development of a positive self-concept, is implicit
throughout the series. Each program has a unique and different theme that is
designed to engage the young viewer. These elements are described briefly below.
APPRECIATING GOOD LITERATURE.
The primary objective of each book
adaptation is to motivate the child to seek and read that book. Based on series
evaluation and interaction with a national advisory committee, as well as other
professionals, each program is designed to be rich in language experiences. The
books chosen excel in both illustrations and story content.
INTRODUCING NEW EXPERIENCES.
This element introduces a place or
experience new to most children, or reminds them of something they have
experienced in the past that will illustrate and enrich their understanding of
RECOGNIZING THE LOCAL LIBRARY AS A RESOURCE.
The objective of the
library element is to help the child develop positive images of the library as a
place where books, magazines, films, and other interesting, creative things by
children for other children--one of the most popular features for both children
PROMOTING A POSITIVE SELF-CONCEPT.
This element is integrated into
each program by showing adults who are respectful of children and, children who
are respectful of adults and other children. Children appear as regular
participants in a variety of activities that they obviously enjoy. In this and
other ways the child viewers leave the program feeling positive about themselves
and other people.
Each READING RAINBOW program is based on a highly acclaimed children's book.
Hundreds of children's books were evaluated in the selection process for the
READING RAINBOW feature and review books presented in each program. The criteria
for final book selection are literary and artistic excellence, adaptability to
television, appropriate theme and length, and cultural diversity. Efforts to
ensure a broad cross cultural base by avoiding stereotypical portrayals of major
characters is an additional criterion.
The content of the series is designed to motivate children to read good books by
engaging their effective and cognitive domains. One other way children become
successful readers is by reading good stories that have intrinsic value and
interest to them. READING RAINBOW meets the challenge of using the technology of
television to stimulate children's interest in the wonderful world of books.
The goals of READING RAINBOW are twofold:
- To encourage young children to read good books by familiarizing them with
outstanding children's literature.
- To motivate young children to use the variety of services available at
their public libraries.
Each READING RAINBOW show is an upbeat, magazine-format adventure featuring
children's picture books and a medley of other segments which relate to the
feature books theme. The book is adapted specifically for the medium of
television and acts as the centerpiece of each show.
The series is hosted by LeVar Burton, the energetic actor best known for his
portrayal of Commander LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The series
features a guest appearance by Ben Vereen and feature books narrated by William Windom,
Amy Linker, Ruth Buzzi,
James Earl Jones, Madeline Kahn, Maya Angelou, Vincent Gardenia, Michael Ansara,
and Bill Cosby.
READING RAINBOW program segments expand on the feature book's theme and take the
viewer to exciting, theme appropriate settings such as Old Sturbridge Village in
Massachusetts, the Port of Charleston in South Carolina, Dinosaur National Park
in Utah and the San Diego Zoo in California. Shows are peppered
with animation, dramatizations, interviews and music, and there are always three
spunky children's book reviews, written and delivered on-camera by kids.
READING RAINBOW is closed captioned for the hearing impaired audience.
Funders of the READING RAINBOW series include: Kellogg Company, Corporation for
Public Broadcasting, Public Broadcasting Stations, B. Dalton Bookseller, National
Literacy Initiative, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the National Science
Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and
public television viewers.
The series is a production of GPN/Nebraska ETV Network and WNED-TV, Buffalo, and
is produced by Lancit Media Productions, Ltd. of New York City.