End of an era

My son recently alerted me to the news that PBS’s Reading Rainbow was coming to an end.

Reading Rainbow used to be almost daily fare in our house, but we hadn’t seen it in a while as our children got older. I hadn’t even known Levar Burton had left the show over philosophical differences. Seems the company that bought the show was also the parent company of Sylvan Learning Centers and Hooked on Phonics, which teach how to read, wanted to take the show that direction: teaching the mechanics of reading.

I think that was the wrong approach — at least changing the show over totally that direction was. Teaching mechanics is necessary. But I think kids are more inspired and motivated to learn to read by experiencing great books. And even those who know how to read well and experience great books don’t go on to become book lovers themselves, so  a show like that exposed them to a lot more than they would encounter themselves. And those who did love to read would find some good recommendations, like those of us who love to read and peruse other people’s reading lists to get some good ideas.

So even though I am beyond the stage of life of having small children, I am still sad that the show is gone.

When I have grandkids, reading is one of the main activities I want us to do together.

Janet had some great thoughts about teaching and inspiring reading.

I‘ve traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I’ve been where no-one’s been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books.
~ Author Unknown ~

Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to
mankind, which are delivered down from generation to
generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn,
~ Joseph Addison  ~

Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up
its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors.
~ Joseph Addison ~

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison  ~

8 thoughts on “End of an era

  1. I knew the show was ending, but didn’t realize why. I agree with you… There are always programs that focus on reading nuts and bolts. Reading Rainbow filled a different kind of niche. Sad to see it go.

    You have some great quotes here! I like the words about books as legacies of a great genius the best.

    Thanks for the link. 🙂

  2. According to a Business First News Article, Sylvan bought reading Rainbow and they’re going to use it as a private instructional show. It will no longer be broadcast on TV at all. Also, according to that article, it has been several years since a new episode has been filmed and the show died because author’s were demanding high residual fees and the shows were no longer profitable. Sad.

    Finally, according to the Washington Post, the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration, he explains, which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling. Funding was diverted from Reading Rainbow to teach kids how to read with apparently little thought given to teaching kids WHY they should read.

  3. Hi Barbara-

    I’m Judd Corizan from the blog Sunday Stealing. Every week we rip a meme off someone’s blog. Today we chose yours. You are our first two-time victim! We give you full credit and link back to your blog. The great thing is that a lot of previous “victims” such as yourself have become regular players! We publish the blog between 3 and 6 PM EDT. We usually get between 70 and 80 people who play and comment on each other’s responses. And a lot of our players are previous victims of our theft like you! We hope you play along in the weeks to come! Thank you and have a great day…

  4. When my son and daughter-in-law were 3 weeks pregnant and told us the news, I went out and bought “The Little Engine that Could.” I love that book, and I read it to each grandchild. The love of reading is one of the best gifts you can give.

  5. AH! I have a post set to publish on Reading Rainbow becuse I just discovered that our library bought the whole series on DVD! ANd I couldn’t find any information online as to whether or not the series was still being produced so I will update my post with a link to yours.

    I enjoyed them growing up and am enjoying them once again with my son(s) and I’m sorry to hear it is ending.

  6. When my three were little, Reading Rainbow was a mainstay. When I told my eldest, a recent college graduate, she was aghast. I’m all for phonics, but the effort needs to be balanced with inculcating the joy of reading. Also–a long time ago (14 years) I used to work at a Sylvan center.

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