Reading Rainbow Relaunches with an iPad App

06/22/2012 at 10:00 AM ET
Courtesy Reading Rainbow

After Reading Rainbow ended its 26-year run in 2009, the show’s host and producer LeVar Burton sought a way to bring the show to the digital generation.

We thought, ‘What can we do to reinvent the television show for today’s wired generation, the generation of digital mavens?'” he tells PEOPLE. “And the immediate answer was to do some sort of digital form. “

The resulting Reading Rainbow iPad app, now available for download through the iTunes store and geared toward ages 3 to 9, brings beloved children’s books to life. The adventure app lets kids navigate themed “islands” each containing a related set of books – Animal Kingdom, My Family or My Friends, for example – where little readers discover accompanying videos, puzzles and narration to enhance the storytelling. At launch, the app features 150 books (look for RR classics like Tortoise and the Hare, The Music In Derek’s Heart, The Cloud Book, and The Popcorn Book) and 16 video “field trips” reminiscent of the show.

“We know that kids want bells and whistles, so we give them bells and whistles but we give them in a way that makes sense to us and supports the storytelling experience,” Burton says. “We’re really proud of the way we’ve been able to translate that television format.”

“The book is the heart, the center, the soul of what we’re doing,” he continues. “We sort of expand that universe and explore it in other ways — but the sense of exploration and discovery of the real world through literature is absolutely consistent [with the show].”

– Kiran Hefa

RELATED: Tablet Time! Super Cool Apps for the Whole Family

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angel on

Reading Rainbow was my all-time favorite television program as a child. I love LeVar Burton. I wish there were more children’s television hosts like him today. Calm voice, non-abrasive personality.

Ivy. on

I haven’t seen that man’s face since I was about 6! What a rush of nostalgia I just got. This is so cool!

ab on

aww, I loved reading rainbow too!

Shannon on

very cool love it

Erika on

def will buy it. yay!

Cortney on

He was on Watch What Happens Live with Soliel Moon Frye last night! So fun! Love Reading Rainbow and Punky Brewster!

JOHANNA on

rEALLY HAPPY TO SEE HIM AGAIN AFTER A FEW YEARS i REALLY ENJOYED WATCHING THE SHOWS.

me on

Reading Rainbow was one of my favorite shows to watch with my son.:-) I still consider it one of the best children’s shows ever on TV.

Melissa C on

Reading Rainbow is the best and LeVar Burton never ages!?! He still looks 30!!

Amy on

OMG! I love Reading Rainbow!

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