After his announcement, I hoped to meet Levar in person to get more information about the app but excited fans and press kept him busy. So I left the event without one on one time with Levar not to mention a missed photo opp.
I had another chance to meet Levar and discuss the Reading Rainbow App during this appearance at the Soho Apple Store for a demo and story-time but I was already scheduled to be somewhere else. Another missed chance!
As a fan of the Reading Rainbow TV show and Trekie, I was starting to feel like the universe had a wicked sense of humor. Then I received a 3rd chance to connected with Levar!
I was invited to speak with Levar about the Reading Rainbow App during a one on one phone interview. Cue the angelic music! Finally! While I wont get that photo opp, I would have my moment to talk education and tech with Levar!
And that's how I received a phone call from Levar Burton. That's right Levar Burton called me. After making some small talk, where I learned how witty Levar can be, we started the interview.
Onica : What made you decided to launch the reading rainbow brand as an app?
Levar: I'm a lover of tech and devices. When we first started discussing this project I noticed the ipad and tablet devices really becoming a useful tool and wanted to tap into that. You have to remember that the idea of using a tablet to read and store information was something I was already use to from playing an engineer on Star Trek. I was already tapped into this idea of having a reading device for children. I wanted to use this angle with a device that children can hold in their hands. It's the same idea of story telling but now in a digital way.
Onica : Yes children these days are growing up digitally, but that comes with pro and cons. Kids now have short attention spans. Was that a concern?
Levar: Not for me. I truly believe you can engage children with storytelling. We've done so much research and it's shown that kids will keep engaged when they enjoy the story. Again it's all about the storytelling. The apps have so many different sections and ways that children can enjoy and keep them engaged
Onica : I've checked out the App and love that it's has an education focus instead of just random gaming playing. Can you talk about that
Levar: I'm big on education. Providing educational content is what I'm about. Some of the elements we carried over from the original Reading Rainbow show included the video and story telling. This really helped us provided that content for children to learn from.
Onica : Since the launch of the app, what has been the response? What's next for the app? Will you continue to be involved?
Levar: There has been a tremendous response to the app. We're working hard to keep up with the interest. I have invested so much time and energy in this app. I'm not going anywhere.
We're continuing to develop the app and deal with any issues that come up. We're working on a new release as well as continuing to update the website and parent section for the app. We're also working on getting the app into the android market. We want to make it available to everyone.
At this point I let out a loud whoop on behalf of all the families who use android devices. Levar thought that was funny and assured me he got my back.
While I'd like to think he'd do that just for me, the reality is that he's committed to developing this app for all families. Don't believe me? Then check out what he himself said in the video below.
Designed for children 3-9 years of age, the Reading Rainbow App delivers a library of hundreds of curated books and all new videos presented in a world of adventure and discovery. Traveling to themed islands, such as Animal Kingdom, My Friends, My Family and Genius Academy, kids find a variety of books and videos customized to their age and interests.
To download the Reading Rainbow App visit - www.readingrainbow.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/ReadingRainbow
Twitter - www.twitter.com/ReadingRainbow