LeVar Burton's 'Reading Rainbow' Kickstarter Raised Over $1 Million Goal in 1 Day

( [email protected] ) May 29, 2014 11:41 PM EDT
LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation
LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation

LeVar Burton, best known for his role as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, wants to reintroduce kids to the power of the written word.

On Wednesday, the former host and executive producer of Reading Rainbow announced on Kickstarter that the popular children's show--which ended in 2006 after a 23 year run--would make a comeback.

The campaign, titled "Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child, Everywhere" seeks to transform the company's large collection of books into an interactive digital library accessible to every child. The web-based television show would come with a curriculum for teachers and classroom use-and would be completely free.

"We're talking about universal access, putting it on the web and especially getting it into classrooms," Burton told People Magazine. "It's a product for teachers that is designed specifically for them. The big thing for me is being able, through this Kickstarter, to give the product away to schools in need."

The project's beginning goal was to raise $1 million in 35 days. However, in less than 24 hours, the campaign reached its minimum goal to get funded at all. By the end of Thursday night, the campaign raised over $2.5 million with 55,834 backers.

Burton posted a tearful video on his Kickstarter campaign website thanking donors for their generosity.

"I don't know what to say. We've just crossed the million dollar threshold -and it's our first day," he said. "I am overwhelmed. This is going to enable us to really do a lot of good; I am so proud that this community has come together to support this effort. It's unbelievable. We are literally changing the world one children's book at a time."

Burton, who studied to be a priest at one time, says Reading Rainbow was created to use TV as a tool to sharpen children instead of dull them, and that's exactly what the show did. The show found great success in the 90's, ranking alongside Mr. Rogers and the Children's Television Workshop.

"It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could "go anywhere" and "be anything." Ever since Reading Rainbow began in 1983, I have dedicated myself to fostering a love of reading in children, just as my mother did for me," Burton said on Kickstarter.

Burton says his mother, who was a strong Christian, sent him to a religious school because they "gave students the best education." It was during his time at the Catholic school that Burton discovered the importance of prayer and spirituality.

"Life has sort of become a walking prayer," he told Oprah. "I love to pray and I feel that I get to pray with every breath I take."

The actor continued to say the he believes prayer is crucial to changing the world for the better.

Currently, "Bring Reading Rainbow Back" has garnered over $2.5 million; the donation period continues through July 2. Donations can be made on the campaign's website.