The Show Star Trek Legend LeVar Burton Loved So Much He Saved it With a Kickstarter Campaign That Earned More Than $5 Million

LeVar Burton's love for reading got millions of children reading books for years!

star trek legend levar burton ,


  • LeVar Burton is an actor known for portraying the role of Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek franchise.
  • On the other hand, Burton is an avid reader and even made several sacrifices to become the host of Reading Rainbow!
  • However, the actor didn't stop there as he created a Kickstarter campaign for the internet generation to continue reading!
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LeVar Burton found fame for portraying the role of Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek franchise for quite many years. Alongside the role, Burton also became the host of a children’s show called Reading Rainbow.

LeVar Burton in Star Trek: The Next Generation
LeVar Burton in Star Trek: The Next Generation| Paramount

The concept wasn’t something grandiose or game-changing. It was simply Burton reading kids’ books and giving the children stories that taught morals and fun. However, LeVar Burton had an immense love for the show.

LeVar Burton And The Reading Rainbow

The proposition to have a narrator read children’s books to kids wasn’t that endearing for actors. However, this was a crucial step in history since the show encouraged kids to read alongside the host.

LeVar Burton
LeVar Burton in a still from Reading Room |On Screen Entertainment

LeVar Burton was on the six o’clock news at the time while the crew behind Reading Rainbow was busy with the ideation of the series. Something sparked and writer Lynne Ganek brought in the proposition of LeVar Burton narrating stories.

In an interview, producer Larry Lancit revealed to Mental Floss that the idea of casting Burton in the series was something quite iconic.

I remember [writer] Lynne [Ganek] called us and said, ‘You really need to see this guy. He’ll be on the six o’clock news.’

Co-producer Cecily Truett added,


Lynne called [Burton’s manager] when LeVar was doing ‘ABC’s Wide World of Sports’ on the Zimbabwe River. [The agent for Burton replied] He’s not even in the country, but he’ll do it.

That is how LeVar Burton was brought in for the iconic show Reading Rainbow. However, Burton’s love for the show didn’t stop there. As per reports, Burton had something better in his mind.

With the changing world and modern trends affecting people’s love for reading, Burton wanted to showcase the so-called ‘internet generation’ the perks of reading books. That’s when he thought of a campaign.

LeVar Burton’s Campaign Gathered $5 Million!

It was the year 2006 when Reading Rainbow aired its last episode. However, LeVar Burton wanted to share the joy of reading with children and that’s when the thought of reading for the internet generation became an idea.

LeVar Burton in Jeopardy! | Sony Pictures Television

Although Burton tried to bring organic finance to the project, it didn’t quite work. So, Burton started a campaign on Kickstarter (which was quite new at the time). The end result got him $5 million for his project!

The money went to an app called Skybrary that gave kids access to thousands of lessons and an online library to pick a book and read it. However, Burton’s passion for reading didn’t stop there.

In 2017, Burton created a podcast called LeVar Burton Reads and instead of children, the podcast was meant for adults to hear stories. The episodes are still continuing and have thousands of people turning up to listen to the stories.


In 2022, a documentary was released on Netflix titled Butterfly in the Sky. The documentary showcased the journey of Reading Rainbow and had Burton talking about his experience while working on the show.

Reading Rainbow received a rating of 8.4/10 on IMDB and 16 seasons of the show are available to buy on Apple TV+ in the U.S. Meanwhile, his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads is available on Spotify.


Written by Visarg Acharya

Articles Published: 2256

Visarg Acharya, Associate Content Writer, has been heavily involved in movies, series, and history. Having an experience of 2 years in the field of content writing, Visarg is a seasoned writer. Having a degree in Physics, Visarg Acharya has published a dissertation alongside a plethora of poems and short stories along the way.