It's the end of an era.
Today marks the last broadcast of my favorite childhood show, "Reading Rainbow." Although it stopped production in 2006 when funding ran out, the program continued airing reruns on PBS.
It's sad to see educational children's shows like this fade away. Yes, "Reading Rainbow" lasted 26 years, which is far longer than most TV shows, but what about my children?
Growing up in a house without cable, if we wanted to watch television, it was PBS. It was -- and still is -- the best place to find educational, entertaining children's programming.
Not that plopping your kids down in front of the TV is a substitute for parenting. But spending half an hour with a show like "Reading Rainbow" can help motivate a kid to want to read. And reading has been shown to correlate strongly with a child's verbal and cognitive skills.
By the age of 2, children who are read to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies and higher cognitive skills than their peers. [...] In addition, being read to aids in the socioemotional development of young children...."
Did you know that just talking to your toddler can have a profound influence of his future literacy and verbal skills?
"[R]esearch has shown that by age five, a child from an impoverished background will hear 32 million fewer words than a middle-class child.
And once a child has the foundations of language, reading is just a step away.
A chart from Pearson Education Canada shows that a child who reads books on his or her own for 21 minutes per day will read 1.8 million words per year; at 14 minutes, it will equal one million words per year; and at three minutes, only 200,000 words per year — leading to an immense discrepancy in vocabulary.
By recommending books and showing reading as a fun activity, "Reading Rainbow" no doubt helped foster a lifelong love of literacy in millions of American children. I know it did for me.
Goodbye, "Reading Rainbow." Thanks for the memories. And thanks for making a music video promoting libraries.
What was your favorite show as a child?