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Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Heads Into Home Stretch 68

Posted by samzenpus
from the almost-there dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A month ago, LeVar Burton and his friends at Reading Rainbow created a Kickstarter campaign designed to bring their app for the iPad and Kindle Fire to the Web at large. They asked for a million dollars, and quickly blew the doors off their goal, receiving over three million dollars in three days. There are 48 hours remaining in the fundraiser, which has garnered over 4.5 million dollars, and with over 92,000 contributors, is the most heavily backed Kickstarter campaign of all time. To sweeten the pot, Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane has offered to match any pledges over the $4 million mark, up to an additional million dollars."
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Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Heads Into Home Stretch

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  • Seth MacFarlane (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @06:31PM (#47354615)

    I don't necessarily like everything he has done in his career, but he has certainly been putting a lot of money into solid causes lately. The Cosmos series was pretty good and now this. Respect.

  • by asmkm22 (1902712) on Monday June 30, 2014 @06:47PM (#47354709)
    The problem with (new) Reading Rainbow is that it will end up targeting and catering to kids that are already interested and proficient in reading, due to those kids being in families able to buy into the subscription. Twenty years ago, it worked because even poor families generally had at least a single crappy TV with rabbit ears, which was enough to get PBS. That 4 or 5 million that ends up getting raised would go a lot further by addressing actual core issues with poverty, rather than giving kids who already know and like to read even more reason to do so.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is no shortage of upper and middle class kids that while technically able to read rarely chose to do so. I agree the PBS approach made more sense, and I would really prefer if there was a no/low cost option available. But we shouldn't damn an idea that can still do good, just because their may be other better ways to do good.

    • by raydobbs (99133) on Monday June 30, 2014 @06:53PM (#47354753) Homepage Journal

      I thought one of the things they were hoping to do with the extended stretch goals is give subscriptions to poorer communities (libraries in rural or inner-city settings, etc) so that it could be utilized by the people who couldn't normally afford it.

      • If they figure they can finance this with $1mil, and it looks like they'll probably get around $6mil funding in total, that's $5mil they can put into "free" subscriptions. Not bad. If they set up a donation channel as well, and make the "non-free" subscriptions some sort of matching deal (for each paid subscriber, another free subscription is made available), this could actually work reasonably well.

        Plus, if they can make this a web app that'll run on a phone screen, they'll reach a LARGE number of poor p

        • That was part of the stretch goals. [kickstarter.com] The initial 1 million was to bring an updated version of the show to the web. At 5 million, they wanted to bring it to all platforms, including mobile devices, video game consoles and set top boxes too.
      • give subscriptions to poorer communities (libraries in rural or inner-city settings, etc)

        Getting children to commute to these libraries might be a challenge. A lot of public libraries close for the night around the time the parents get home from work, and then they close for the weekend.

        • by Triklyn (2455072)

          in my community, my local public library was situated a quarter of a mile from my middle school. Served as day-care, spent so many hours there, playing reading and generally being underfoot for the poor librarians. I think i also learned to love reading there too. since there was not much else to do. :)

          thank you public libraries and tolerant librarians.

      • by asmkm22 (1902712)
        Correct, but that doesn't solve the problem of people in those communities having the means of using the free subscription, not to mention jump through whatever hoops are required to be granted access. Most families in that situation don't have great access to a home computer, and trying to get them to make regular trips to whatever library still exists in the area to use those computers isn't much more likely. The subscription -- although definitely a hurdle -- isn't really the major issue. It's how the
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by CaptainLard (1902452)
      From the kickstarter page: "And with your help, we'll provide it to thousands of disadvantaged classrooms for FREE."

      I could be naive but I'd imagine the more successful the RR app gets, the more they will do to distribute it to people who can't afford it.
      • by asmkm22 (1902712)
        It's definitely possible. My observation is simply that the money would be more effective addressing some of the underlying reasons these kids can't or don't want to read, rather than on a for-profit service designed to encourage already proficient readers to read more and hoping for some excess funds to trickle down to the kids who really need it. The thing is -- and this is something that most teachers really can't talk about professionally for PC reasons -- a child's success in school is influenced pri
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by geekoid (135745)

      Stop complaining. You, and the idiots that modded up need to go read what they are doing, what the goal is and come back an apologize for being knee jerk stupid.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Stop complaining. You, and the idiots that modded up need to go read what they are doing, what the goal is and come back an apologize for being knee jerk stupid.

        From the kickstarter page it looks like they're going to put it on the web, and put it in classrooms. Unless I misread that, or the kickstarter page fails to adequately explain the goals, they're explicitly not going to be reaching the kids who need them the most with this plan.

    • by dnavid (2842431)

      The problem with (new) Reading Rainbow is that it will end up targeting and catering to kids that are already interested and proficient in reading, due to those kids being in families able to buy into the subscription. Twenty years ago, it worked because even poor families generally had at least a single crappy TV with rabbit ears, which was enough to get PBS. That 4 or 5 million that ends up getting raised would go a lot further by addressing actual core issues with poverty, rather than giving kids who already know and like to read even more reason to do so.

      That makes an enormous leap of logic, that children who have any sort of basic literacy no longer need any help or encouragement. A four year old that can read isn't automatically going to become a twelve year old that can read better and is still interested in reading anything other than text messages. I would argue that in today's world its even more important to encourage reading because unlike the days when television was the great distraction today there are far more sources of distraction competing

    • by Jahoda (2715225)
      That's cool, dude. Your cynicism makes you appear so sagely and world-wise.

      "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."

      Just a thought for you.
    • Twenty years ago, it worked because even poor families generally had at least a single crappy TV with rabbit ears, which was enough to get PBS.

      Did it actually work? Genuinely curious because I can't find any studies on the topic

  • Reading Rainbow's New Theme Song with LeVar Burton: http://youtu.be/VQ34s3kKFDY [youtu.be]

  • I'm a backer. I'm a backer because LeVar made my childhood awesome and I'd like to pay it forward. I also trust LeVar more than I trust where my current tax dollars are going. However, I'd like to see more details concerning the grit of how he's going to do what he's trying do to. Where is all of this money going? Is the majority paying for licensing of books? Is a third going to software development? Is $750,000 going to researching best methods of teaching kids?
  • I feel like we've barely grazed the surface of the potential of crowd funding. I mean, in a real sense here we, as society, are funding self-education - we are funding the education of our own society. That's cool.
    • by praxis (19962)

      I feel like we've barely grazed the surface of the potential of crowd funding. I mean, in a real sense here we, as society, are funding self-education - we are funding the education of our own society. That's cool.

      Government and taxes have been a way of society crowd funding its own education for far longer than kickstarter has been around. It says something about how youngsters perceive our extant system if kickstarter campaigns funding education seem like a new thing.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      I feel like we've barely grazed the surface of the potential of crowd funding. I mean, in a real sense here we, as society, are funding self-education - we are funding the education of our own society. That's cool.

      If only there were a central organization that could collect all this money, with those who could afford it paying more, and then re-distribute it ....... oh wait!!!!

      • by tomhath (637240)
        That is the opposite of crowd funding. People want to have a say in where their money is spent.
      • by Loki_1929 (550940)

        The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign isn't going to send men with automatic weapons to break down my door and haul me to prison if I decline to provide it funding. The entity you describe will.

    • by tomhath (637240)
      Non Government Organizations have been around for decades. I suppose crowd funding makes it a little easier though.
      • by Loki_1929 (550940)

        What it can do is provide an interface between NGOs and common people. NGOs typically receive much of their funding from governments and rich or wealthy benefactors. Fundraising means getting those folks into a room and convincing them to cough up some cash. Crowdfunding allows a wider audience (literally everyone on the Internet) to see the intended actions of the NGO and then choose to contribute. Rather than getting $45,000 from 100 rich people, they can get $45 from 100,000 without the immense overhead

  • Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper to pay authors to write English-language childrens' books as a "work for hire" then release them under a Creative Commons license? That way you can serve up these books globally instead of just in the USA.
  • all he did was reroute Reading Rainbow funding source through the Kickstarter phase array.

  • seth mcfarlane has only pledged an additional 1 million dollars, and that million is contingent upon reaching four million more. anything less will be at his discretion.

    • by turp182 (1020263)

      The summary mentions that funding is at $4.5 million and Seth will match $1 million above $4 million.

      The project is at $4.66 million now with 41 hours left. Seth is going to be in for $1 million.

      I like his shows, but he is showing some true character lately. Good guy all around.

  • Cool and good that this is being done, but! I'm really surprised that no one in here appears to be outraged about the fact that a kickstarter campaign like this one is needed at all.
    25% of 4th graders can't read an comprehend a simple English sentence like the one presented in the kickstarter video.
    It's a massive failure of the (public) school system, and the public school system can probably thank the politicians for this failure.
    To get such grand scale illiteracy in a country takes something else than

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