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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Needing "Rainbow"

  • You can find a lot of interesting things on Kickstarter, a website that allows users to pitch their ideas to the world in hopes someone will like their concept and donate to the cause.
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  • You can find a lot of interesting things on Kickstarter, a website that allows users to pitch their ideas to the world in hopes someone will like their concept and donate to the cause.
    One time I found a proposition for a “bear simulator” — basically a computer game that allows you to fish, forage and feel like any ordinary Grizzly. I would play this game.
    Another time someone was asking for $50,000 to finance the construction of a RoboCop statue to be displayed somewhere in Detroit. A good use of money? Who am I to judge?
    The hottest project on Kickstarter right now? An effort to bring new episodes of LeVar Burton’s “Reading Rainbow” back to classrooms and living rooms everywhere via the Internet.
    In just three days, the campaign has been a smashing success. At the time of writing, the show had raised more than $2.9 million from 66,595 backers with more than a month left to pledge.
    Kickstarter is stuffed to the gills with unworthy projects. “Reading Rainbow” is not one of them.
    A statistic listed on the “Reading Rainbow” funding page says that one in four children are growing up illiterate.
    I can’t vouch for the validity or scale of that particular statistic, but I do know more than 15% of Oklahoma third-graders failed mandated reading tests this school year.
    Beyond the ability to pass controversial state exams, childhood reading helps foster the values of learning, awareness and open-mindedness in the future — values important to the future of any nation, but particularly ours.
    If no one is an advocate for reading, how long can it last in a crowded entertainment market?
    What’s at stake here is as much about “what can we gain” as it is about “what could we lose.”
    If no one is around to receive the story, the story may never get told.
    A story that goes untold is a silenced voice, a smothered dream, a lost idea.
    Bringing back “Reading Rainbow” will not be the force that changes the world.
    It will inspire the person who does.

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