Summer reading lists didn’t exist back in the early 1980s, creating an issue known as the “summer loss phenomena” in children. One of America’s favorite television series was birthed, Reading Rainbow, as a solution to the phenomenon, created to develop a love of reading in children. The hit series ran for over 20 years. The beloved series is now in the early production stages to become a documentary honoring the show’s legacy.
The documentary which XTR will produce is titled, Butterfly in the Sky. The perfect title is based on the theme song of the show. XTR’s Head of Development, Justin Lacob, had this to say, “We are honored to tell the Reading Rainbow story and document the show’s incredible work to increase literacy for children around the world. Decades later, the impact of Reading Rainbow still lives on through my lifelong love of reading which I share with my own kids.” The documentary will feature LeVar Burton, who hosted the show. In addition, it is reported that the documentary will feature old and new interviews from Burton and a host of other broadcasters, producers, and educators that were a part of the show throughout the years.
Brett Whitcomb and Bradford Thomason will direct the documentary. Whitcomb seems especially interested in directing the documentary and making sure the story is presented right. The director seems to have a personal connection to the story stating,
“Reading Rainbow was arguably the first time I encountered ‘documentary-style’ television as a young person, planting a seed that would inspire me for the rest of my life and lead me to where I am in my career to this day.”
There aren’t many that haven’t heard of Reading Rainbow but if you haven’t, the show which first aired back in 1983 is described as,
Hosted by LeVar Burton for more than 20 years, “Reading Rainbow” teaches reading skills, habits, and attitudes. The magazine-style format takes kids on real-life journeys with celebrity guest readers and “Kid on the Street” book recommendations. Also incorporating popular music, history and social topics for kids, Reading Rainbow offers writing and illustrating contests for young viewers.
The show ran from 1983 – 2006. The first two seasons are currently available on Amazon Prime. The release date for Butterly in the Sky is not yet known but stay connected to XTR productions here for when details become available.