LOS ANGELES, May 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Beloved children's brand Reading Rainbow® today launches SKYBRARY®, the all-new web-based digital library of hand-curated children's books and story-driven educational video field trips, created for kids ages 2-9. Designed to entice and excite children's natural sense of curiosity about their world, SKYBRARY delivers an adventure-based unlimited book reading and video field trip experience. Built on the foundation of the industry leading educational App launched in 2012 and the Peabody Award-winning television series, SKYBRARY was funded by the record-breaking 2014 Kickstarter campaign. SKYBRARY is a new portal to the world of Reading Rainbow, inviting every child with Internet access -- at home, at school or at the library -- to develop a passion for reading and to experience the fun of learning.
Young readers and pre-readers pilot their own personal hot air balloons among SKYBRARY'S seven unique themed islands, each featuring a wide array of quality literature and video content. These engaging worlds of animals, music, adventure, science, heroes, friends and family feature over 500 books from esteemed authors and acclaimed publishers, made available to children as "read by myself" or "read to me," and contain interactive elements that enhance enjoyment while preserving the reading experience. Over 150 newly produced and classic video field trips with host LeVar Burton show children they can "Go Anywhere, Be Anything" as they are taken behind the scenes to places like the White House, the Los Angeles Ballet, the Grand Canyon and Cirque du Soleil.
"The importance of developing a passion for the written word can not be overstated -- children who love to read have the greatest tool to reach their highest potential," said the 12-time Emmy Award-winning Burton. "Our determination to encourage the love of reading and learning in every child, everywhere is more steadfast now than ever before."
According to a 2013 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, 83% of households own a computer, so it was clear to Burton and his RRKidz (rights holder of the Reading Rainbow brand) Co-Founder and CEO Mark Wolfe, that in order to reach "Every Child, Everywhere," they would have to bring the formerly tablet-only Reading Rainbow App service to the web. The Kickstarter campaign was designed to fund that effort. "Reading is the great equalizer and needs to be made as appealing and exciting to today's children as possible. Books and educational videos face stiff competition from an overwhelming array of video games and other screen time distractions from unknown creators. Both parents and kids can feel lost in a sea of not knowing where to find compelling, trusted and enriching experiences." said Wolfe. "SKYBRARY by Reading Rainbow, is a safe harbor that delivers on our 32- year mission to be the fun place for kids and the right place for parents. "
The 35-day crowdfunding campaign last summer raised 600% of its original goal, topping more than $6.4 million and shattering Kickstarter records with the support of over 105,000 backers. Utilizing these funds to deliver on their promise, Burton, Wolfe and the RRKidz team have spent the last year travelling the globe to create exciting new content that introduces children to the world in which they live and integrating hundreds of newly published children's books into their multiple award-winning service.
SKYBRARY is available starting today at www.readingrainbow.com and offers a 14-day free trial with unlimited access to the complete digital library of books and videos. After the trial period ends, subscription plans are available for $9.99 for one month, $29.99 for six months and $49.99 for an annual membership (less than $5 a month for unlimited use).
An Android-specific version for tablets will be available in early summer and the highly anticipated classroom version of the SKYBRARY service, including standards-based lesson plans, a complete teacher dashboard and other educator-specific tools will be rolled out this fall.
About RRKidz and Reading Rainbow The multi-award-winning Reading Rainbow children's television series was created in 1983 to encourage reading. By the end of the series in 2009, it had produced 155 episodes, all hosted by actor/director LeVar Burton, best known for his distinguished TV portrayals of Kunta Kinte on "Roots" and Geordi La Forge on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Burton and his business partner Mark Wolfe, through their RRKidz and in partnership with WNED-Buffalo, acquired the global rights to continue the Reading Rainbow brand and launched the enormously successful Reading Rainbow App in 2012. Available on iPad and Kindle Fire, the App immediately became iTunes' number one best-selling education App, introducing millions of children in the digital generation to the iconic Reading Rainbow.