Remember Reading Rainbow, the children’s book show hosted by LeVar Burton that teased the end of every book so that you just had to go out and buy it?
Well, now Reading Rainbow is an iOS app. Burton, the Roots and Star Trek star, has taken his reading show 21st century with his new company, RRKidz, which publishes the app.
The app is for children aged three-to-nine and offers a curated library of hundreds of books and videos. Each book has an audio storytelling feature with the voices of celebrity actors, including Burton, who has won a Grammy award for spoken word.
The videos in the app are “field trips” that will help connect readers to the world on which the books are based, according to a statement. Some of these field trips will be new, original video and some will be segments from the show, which aired on PBS from 1983 to 2006. The app is launching with 150 books and 16 videos.
There is a companion website, ReadingRainbow.com, which offers parents updates on how much time their children spend reading and what they are reading. To keep kids engaged, the app offers rewards and badges to encourage more reading.
The app itself is free to download from the Apple App Store and comes with a limited selection of books. Those who want the full selection can buy a subscription for $9.99 a month or $29.99 for the first six months, prices that may go up as the statement called them a “limited-time introductory price.”
Burton gave one of the keynote presentations at the Tools of Change digital publishing conference in New York in February this year.
Enjoy the intro to the original show: