Reading Rainbow, a TV show geared toward encouraging children to read books, aired for over 20 years on PBS before the network's financial troubles forced the show to shut down in 2006. Reading Rainbow is coming back, but in a very next-gen fashion; rather than a TV show, Reading Rainbow will now be an iPad app.
According to Fast Company, former Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton has launched a for-profit venture, RRKidz, that will produce a multimedia twist on Reading Rainbow's old TV format. The venture's first project will be an iPad app. Featuring 300 books at launch, the app will include voiceovers, animation, games, and videos. According to Burton, RRKidz has technology at its disposal that will allow them to enhance a PDF children's book with multimedia content "in a matter of hours." When launched, the app will have a monthly subscription model, which Burton hopes will encourage children to explore more titles.
App developers and ebook writers have already discovered that the iPad is an ideal device for getting kids excited about reading, so Reading Rainbow's move to the device is a welcome one.