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Reading Rainbow's New Website Launched Today (And It's Totally Adorable)

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Reading Rainbow is back -- this time, in the form of a subscription-based digital library called Skybrary.

Reading Rainbow | YouTube

The beloved TV show Reading Rainbow, which debuted in June of 1983, lasted 26 seasons and inspired a generation of kids to find pleasure and excitement in reading. In 2009, when the show finally ended, host LeVar Burton, with his business partner Mark Wolfe and in with WNED-, acquired the global rights to continue the Reading Rainbow brand with the intent to build something from the ashes.

Burton's first try, a Reading Rainbow iPad app, just didn't have the reach he was looking for because not everyone has an iPad. So he launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in May a year ago to raise the money to produce a web series that could be seen by anyone with a computer and Internet access.

Related: 'Reading Rainbow' Is Coming Back Thanks to Kickstarter

Burton's campaign raised $6.4 million and, with 105,857 backers, broke the Brooklyn-based crowdfunding platform's record for number of individuals who contributed to a single campaign. (Since last summer, the Exploding Kittens card game has surpassed Burton's record of most backers.)

With the money, Burton launched the digital library Skybrary, a website targeting children ages 2 to 9 with a curated digital library of more than 500 children's books and more than 150 corresponding video "field trips." The video field trips -- which take children to places like the White House, the Los Angeles Ballet, the Grand Canyon and Cirque du Soleil -- are an extension of the idea that by reading, children can "go anywhere" and "be anything."

Related: Actor LeVar Burton on Relaunching Reading Rainbow as a Mobile App

"The importance of developing a passion for the written word can not be overstated -- children who love to read have the greatest tool to reach their highest potential," says Burton, in a statement. "Our determination to encourage the love of reading and learning in every child, everywhere is more steadfast now than ever before."

After a 14-day free trial, Skybrary operates on a subscription model of $9.99 for one month, $29.99 for six months and $49.99 for an entire year.

Related: How Reading Rainbow's LeVar Burton Is Bringing Storytelling into the Digital Age

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated Burton's involvement with the Reading Rainbow brand. Burton and his business partner, in partnership with WNED-Buffalo, acquired the global rights to continue the brand.

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