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Monday, March 5, 2018

Engaging Kids' Imaginations

“A lot of people don’t associate books with technology, but that’s such a mistake.  Although I haven’t abandoned reading bound books, I’m a big fan of reading on digital devices.  I am able to carry a library in my hand, on my tablet computer.  To me that is a miracle. Quite frankly, I don’t care whether they’re reading a bound book or on a tablet computer.  I just want kids to read.  LeVar Burton

Burton, who recently celebrated his 61st birthday, knows how to reach people with his acting skills, but it was his daughter Mica who knew the power of social media and urged him to transform the popular PBS show Reading Rainbow into a web experience as well.  With a hugely successful crowd-funding campaign, the Burtons created an e-version of the show that kids and their parents have enjoyed ever since the show left the airwaves. 
                 Burton first broke onto the scene and into our consciousness as the young star of the television miniseries Roots. In 1983, he became the host of Reading Rainbow.  During his 23 years as host it won five Emmy Awards.  Meanwhile, Burton also became a household name for science-fiction fans for his role in Star Trek: The Next Generation.   But he never gave up on insuring that kids had the opportunity to read and be excited by reading.

 “Reading a hard copy book and reading a book on an iPad are slightly different experiences, but what they both have in common is that you must engage your imagination in the process,” he said.  “As long as we are engaged in storytelling that moves the culture forward, it really doesn’t matter what format it is.”

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