Author & Text

LeVar Burton, longtime host of Reading Rainbow, was born in 1957.

February 16
Calendar Activity Type
Author & Text

Event Description

LeVar Burton was born in 1957 in West Germany, while his father was in the military. He hosted 155 episodes of Reading Rainbow since its premiere in 1983 until 2006. Burton's first television appearance, though, was as Kunta Kinte, in the miniseries Roots (1977), based on the novel by Alex Haley.

Burton also appeared as a member of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation television series; portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr., in the film Ali; and produced and hosted the documentary The Science of Peace.

Classroom Activity

Choose complementary Reading Rainbow selections to explore a topic using fiction and nonfiction.

For example, Ruth Heller's Chickens Aren't the Only Ones and Patricia Polacco's Rechenka's Eggs both explore the subject of animals that lay eggs. On the topic of dinosaurs, you'll find William Joyce's Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo and Aliki's Digging up Dinosaurs. After reading both books, your students can compare the selections using the interactive Venn Diagram.

Have students work individually or in small groups to write a poem, song, article, journal entry, or comic strip about the same topic. When all the pieces are completed, compile them in a book or create a bulletin board display.


The home of Reading Rainbow, with the mission to instill the love of reading & learning in children.


PBS offers a variety of resources for parents to promote literacy in young children. Resources are offered in both Spanish and English.


LeVar Burton to Educators: ‘I See You’


An interview on literacy with LeVar Burton

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