It’s the end of Reading Rainbow, a victim of the bad economic times and, it sounds, education policy designed to make reading as mechanical as possible, according to John Grant, the show’s producer:
Grant says the funding crunch is partially to blame, but the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration, he explains, which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling.
“Reading Rainbow taught kids why to read,” Grant says. “You know, the love of reading — [the show] encouraged kids to pick up a book and to read.”
LeVar Burton, both as the host of Reading Rainbow and Geordi Laforge, has been one of the great loves of my life.* Along with reading, I should add.