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Below you will find the email I received moments ago as a response to a petition I signed and sent to PBS in regards to the end of Reading Rainbow. The show aired from 1983 to 2009, making it the third longest running show on PBS behind Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. I, like many others in my generation, loved and still love Reading Rainbow, and appreciate the impact that it has made in our culture. I am saddened by the loss of the show. However, all good things must eventually come to an end, and the true value of something is based on its legacy. Help keep the spirt of Reading Rainbow alive by doing what you can to promote literacy.

Lavar Burton and Reading Rainbow, thank you for the years of teaching us how to learn to love reading.

Dear Mr. Maine:

Thank you for contacting PBS about READING RAINBOW. PBS and member station WNED, the producer of READING RAINBOW, have been contacted by a number of individuals inquiring about returning the series to our schedule. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to do this.

Production ended on READING RAINBOW several years ago, viewership for the show had declined dramatically and now broadcast rights have expired. Off-air educational rights for the series are still currently available for the classroom and remain in effect for a year following the last broadcast of each episode.

Nationally-recognized stories authored by children for the “Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest” will be available online until December 2009, at which point the READING RAINBOW Web site on pbskids.org will end. PBS and WNED are discussing plans to continue the contest on a national level as well as plans to build a literacy Web site for school age children.

PBS KIDS continues to be committed to leveraging the power of media to further children’s development cognitively, socially, emotionally and physically. As a non-profit media enterprise, our limited financial resources are focused on new and current productions that promote literacy education as well as math, science, the arts and overall healthy living. Series such as SUPER WHY!, WORDGIRL, MARTHA SPEAKS, the all-new THE ELECTRIC COMPANY and others encourage a love of reading and books and help guide children through literacy skill development.

We are proud of the success of READING RAINBOW and the way in which it touched the lives of so many children and adults over its 26 years on the air. PBS, WNED and all PBS member stations are dedicated to building on its legacy in the 21st century.

Thank you again for contacting PBS. We appreciate your interest in our programs.

Sincerely,
Mackenzie
PBS Viewer Services

Resources:

Publicadministration.net

Literacy.org

The International Reading Association

National Adult Literacy Database

LiteracyNet

National Center For Family Literacy