Reading Rainbow Is Back…As An App

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

As a child I would flip from the Disney channel to Nickelodeon; Saturday morning cartoons to PBS. That was enough to satisfy any light-hearted, funny, goofy and oh-so-curious child. PBS being a nice mix of all of that.

Good ole’ Channel 13 was the “safe channel” you could leave on all day and either sing-along with Kermit the Frog, twirl around while watching a ballet or learn about the civil war. My favorite show was never the infamous, soft spoken friendly neighbor,Mr. Rogers, nor was it the polite and ever-so-cute blue Choo Choo, Thomas the Train; I will admit I was a sucker for Ghostwriter, but now that I put it all together, it did involve a heavy amount of writing. The obvious answer would be the infamous rainbow and theme song about reading. Reading Rainbow was my low-key favorite show and regardless how cliche it sounds, it inspired my love for children’s books.

Now, as a parent, I find myself encouraging my two sons to read – daily, and a community of friends and stranger’s kids too.  It fills my heart with joy knowing people trust my recommendations.

One of my biggest issues is keeping fresh, new books in our home library. Let’s face it, books are expensive. I’m a sucker for a hardcover books with fantastic illustrations – but that’s an easy $15.00. So, how are we suppose to keep quality books in our children’s young minds? Well, there’s an app for that.

Over the school year, children are encouraged to read a book a day. Yeah right! I have no time to stop by the local library or bookstore to fulfill that demand. With the Reading Rainbow app, they have endless amounts of classic books mixed with new books, the search button can be used with the microphone feature for younger children and read to them by LeVar Burton himself.  I had two of the hardest critics test it out – and they both approved it instantly.

Once an adult preloads all the settings, the kids are allowed to roam “islands” that are categorized by themes: Music, Science, History, Fantasy and more. My boys found themselves navigating the “Skybrary” and finding books that interest them immediately.

Another amazing feature are the videos. Similar to the actual show, the field trips add an extra bit of magic to the action. Videos that reinforce what the books are about help show the kids behind the scenes and real life examples. My boys read about Alice in Wonderland, seen the movie and visited the beautiful Central Park sculptures a few years back. The famed host of Reading Rainbow had a video at the same spot we visited and lit my boys up. The association of what they’ve experienced and the demonstration makes the connection THAT much cooler.

Another awesome feature is the “BOOK BAG.” If you want to suggest any books for your child or they want to read some later, they can select the Book bag option and save them. More than one child? No problem! You can add multiple readers and they can all have individual backpacks with different books.