National Ambassador for Young Peoplen’s Literature

The typo above is brought to you by the official announcement. That’s right! Goodbye Jon Scieszka, whose Polish name I love though I’ve only read a couple of his books (marvelous books, I might add), and hello Katherine Paterson, whose most famous book scarred me for frickin’ life.

I have to say though, her platform theme looks promising: “Read for Your Life”. So many people emphasize reading to their young kids, but don’t keep it up as they get older. We should be fostering a love of reading, not just teaching kids how to read. That’s why my heart was a little broken to read the reason behind the cancellation of Reading Rainbow.

Grant says the funding crunch is partially to blame, but the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration, he explains, which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling.
Grant says that PBS, CPB and the Department of Education put significant funding toward programming that would teach kids how to read — but that’s not what Reading Rainbow was trying to do.
Reading Rainbow taught kids why to read,” Grant says. “You know, the love of reading — [the show] encouraged kids to pick up a book and to read.”

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