I’m a bibliophile. I’ll admit it. My dad loves to tell people how I started reading at the age of four, when my older sister sat me down and taught me how to read simple books. When I was in the first grade, I outread my classmates by several hundred books. (I tore through about 900 total that year.) Later, I would hide out in the bathroom with a book so I could get out of doing chores. I think my parents saw through that, especially when I didn’t come out for a few hours.
The point? Reading has always been an integral part of my life, one that was nurtured and fostered by great children’s programming on TV. The most notable of these was Reading Rainbow, a show dedicated to getting kids excited about books.
After airing its final episode last week, I wonder how children will be introduced to reading. Will there be another program to step in and take its place? How will kids be introduced to the love of books in homes where reading isn’t as important as what’s on the TV?
When I eventually have children, they will be surrounded by books. They will learn a love of reading by example, but I hope that children who may not have that example in their homes will still experience the joys of opening a book and discovering the adventures that lie within.
To the producers and contributors of Reading Rainbow I say thank you. It is a cultural icon that will sorely be missed.