Los Angeles Times

Actor LeVar Burton marks 30th anniversary of Reading Rainbow [video chat]

Thirty years ago, children began a wondrous and colorful journey with reading as the first episode of "Reading Rainbow" took to the PBS airwaves.

This week, actor and Reading Rainbow shepherd and ambassador LeVar Burton is celebrating the franchise's birth -- and recent rebirth as a vibrant iPad app.

Many parents raising tech-savvy toddlers grew up with the television series. It was the third-longest running series on PBS, behind "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and "Sesame Street." Funding dried up in 2006, and the award-winning series Burton hosted and executive produced for 23 years was canceled.

"Educational technology is what we need to get it done," Burton told The Times last year at the inception of Reading Rainbow as an iPad app, noting that paper's days as a storytelling medium are likely numbered. "And if we marry educational technology with quality, enriching content, that's a circle of win."

Today at 1 p.m., he joins us in a live video chat to talk about the effect of lifting the experience of reading from the pages of a book into various media, his adventures in this enterprise and the roots of his mission.

He'll be taking your questions as well.

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