Reading Rainbow: Take a look, it's on an iPad

The beloved long-running PBS children's show Reading Rainbow has been resurrected as a digital app.

LeVar Burton, the host and producer of the award-winning literature and learning program, has been speaking with several news outlets to promote the digital Reading Rainbow during its launch this week.

"We needed to not disappoint the expectations of the brand," Burton told Forbes reporter Jeff Bercovici. "Reading Rainbow meant something to the generations who watched it, and in this new realm of digital literature, we knew that we had the opportunity to deliver something that was valuable for their children."

The app is designed for kids aged three to nine and delivers e-versions of curated books, customized to suit a child's particular interests, and all-new "field trip" videos that were a staple on the original Reading Rainbow show. The reading experience is complemented by animation, activities and interactive elements.

While the app is free to download, it requires a subscription costing $9.99 per month or $29.99 for six months. Subscribers, however, receive unlimited access to the 150 titles currently in the app, with more books presumably on the way. 

Burton has been asked frequently how he feels about encouraging kids to read digital books now instead of paper ones, but says the spirit of Reading Rainbow was never about the medium of the story. It's about the stories themselves.

"Storytelling will always be in fashion. It's changed from the time we first started telling stories to each other around the fire, and cave paintings on the walls of caves to papyrus. But storytelling will never go out of style."