Celeb Baby Laundry recently got the chance to interview LeVar Burton, as part of our insider ambassadorship with National Geographic Kids.
Burton is best know for hosting the hit PBS children’s program Reading Rainbow and appearing as Lieutenant Junior Grade Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series.
Speaking via telephone, Burton opened up to the National Geographic Kids Insiders about his passion for educating children to read and how he has incorporated the use of technology to do this.
Celeb Baby Laundry: How did you inspire your own children to, “go anywhere and be anything”? Do you have any advice for other parents?
“We did a lot of reading to the kids, and a lot of reading in front of the kids. I think that is an equally important message to send to children. Reading is a natural part of every day life, much the same as breathing. I think not enough emphasis is placed on the reading you do in front of your children, in addition to the reading that you do to them.”
Insider Crystal Rapinchuk: What inspiration has shaped your passion for education?
“My mother, Irma Jean Christian. She was my first teacher and she taught me how to read. My mother read not just to me when I was, she read in front of me. My mother till this day has at least 4-5 books going. It is that example, more than anything else that really is responsible for my relationship with the written word.”
Insider Kathy Dalton: How do we embrace technology instead of just competing with it and encouraging our children to read?
“These tablet devices are so engaging. I find that my iPad is the best tool I ever had and it’s the most fun toy I ever owned. You cannot beat that combination. I carry a library around on my iPad. Sooner or later, we’re going to recognize that it’s unsustainable to continue to tear down trees to make books. I don’t care what it is on, if it’s on a traditionally bound book or an electronic book. I simply want kids to read. One of the reasons is I have experienced as a child my world opening up to degrees that astonished me simply by opening up the pages of books. I have tried to communicate my enthusiasm for literature and the written word, certainly through the reading rainbow work, but through most everything I do.”
Meanwhile, Burton has embraced technology by creating the Reading Rainbow App, a mobile library of books and videos for kids. Parents can try the app free of charge and then can decide if they want to subscribe on a monthly basis. Subscribers have unlimited access to the Reading Rainbow library of over 300 books and over 75 video field trips – and the library is continually being expanded.
Image Credit: Christy Solberg/National Geographic.
Disclosure: I am part of the National Geographic Kids Insider program. I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.