I'm so so sad that Reading Rainbow got canceled. It really is a shame. In that NPR article I linked to, the programming director of the show's home station points out that the death of the show is partially chalked up to a shifting focus towards teaching reading. Instead of trying to inspire a love of books, the Department of Education wants to concentrate on spelling and phonics. I feel like this is a huge mistake. While teaching kids how to read is crucial, there's nothing better for literacy than reading often and enjoying it.
I feel like there's this huge stigma in children's culture right now about being smart. There's a coolness about not caring about learning, and the importance of not being a nerd is paramount. By making reading nothing more than a grammar lesson, it's not getting any cooler. It's sad to see a show that encouraged reading as a positive activity go.
To celebrate the run of this awesome show, watch this sweet clip where Levar takes you back stage on the set of Star Trek TNG. (which has been an obsession of mine lately. Can't get enough of that Jean-Luc Picard!)
3:57 - Check out "casual worf"
It's really funny how much more masculine Levar Burton's voice is when he's playing Geordi LeForge. Also how much sillier the show seems without sound effects. But you don't have to take my word for it!