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Lavar Burton has long been an advocate for childhood literacy, and his latest endeavor continues to meet the moment for the next generation of eager readers.
Kareem Weaver, a former educator and member of the Oakland NAACP Education Committee, is at the heart of the documentary. His civil rights work, along with the efforts of other advocacy groups, are also highlighted throughout the film.
According to Hollywood Reporter, in “The Right to Read”, the director, Jenny Mackenzie also unpacks how an arm of the academic publishing industry has lined its pockets at the expense of the nation’s children and, ultimately, U.S. democracy.
Tina Fabrique told millions of kids, ‘I can be anything’
For nearly four decades, Tina Fabrique’s voice has been beloved by kids across the country. Fabrique’s voice brought joy then and nostalgia now for nearly anyone born after the show’s debut in 1983.
“That was where our kids were in the ’80s: sitting in front of a television set. It’s why I reinvented Reading Rainbow as an app for the digital generation. Because that’s where information and the dissemination of information is moving — to the electronic realm and personal devices,” says Burton, the documentary’s executive producer.
Son of an English teacher, Lavar Burton has lived a lifetime of literacy
There’s a section in this documentary that celebrates the work of shows like Sesame Street and The Electric Company that were acting as supplemental teaching material outside of classrooms.
“I saw PBS as a place where the work was being done. I was attracted to that and I was attracted to the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of kids — a positive difference knowing fully well having been born to an English teacher, the importance of a relationship with the written word.” Burton continued, “So it’s been a throughline in my career.”
Burton said, “I am interested in using whatever methods we can in the service of making sure that our children have the skills that they need; the survival skills they need to maximize their own potential in life literacy, being chief among them.”
The documentary is free for a limited time only, you can register to watch or screen with a school, organization, or community group for free until March 9.