We're tossing it back this Tuesday! We at CLI are sending a celebratory birthday shout-out to childhood literacy advocate, LeVar Burton!

On September 21, 2012, former CLI Executive Director Kelly Hunter, Ed.D., appeared live on HuffPost Live, a live-streaming network. The show, hosted by Janet Varney, featured LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow to discuss childhood literacy's importance. The segment was titled "Reading Rainbow Returns" and focused on the new Reading Rainbow app for iPads and the importance of childhood literacy.


LeVar Burton at GalaxyCon., February 2020, Richmond, VA, Super Festivals

For 26 years, Reading Rainbow ran on PBS, bringing quality literature to living rooms across the country. Revolutionizing the way literacy instruction is taught, Burton and his team launched the Reading Rainbow App. At its initial launch, the app had 150 books and 16 video "field trips" for users to explore. Varney referred to the app as "New school but old school." Burton discussed how people are often asking him if this suggests the end of literature on printed paper. His response "I don't think so—we need both actually." He indicated that literature is always changing. Hunter said, "Literacy is developing- it isn't a stagnant thing." Kelly explained that the use of multimedia for reading allows students to apply what they are reading and have a "full experience." She described that we want to put the best tools into the teacher's hands here at CLI, which is why great literature is never far from her mind.

In addition to Kelly, Josh Brooks, a Reading Rainbow fan, joined the segment too. They discussed the importance of accessibility to great literature. Highlighting that reading is fundamental to every aspect of daily life, Hunter shared with the group that "The number one threat to our national security is our low literacy rate," which further sparked the conversation about the importance of early childhood literacy.

You can view the full interview here. Burton supported CLI's mission and had been an active supporter for over 25 years. Thank you and happy birthday, LeVar!

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