Zazzle Book Club: Reading Rainbow

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Besides getting organized and getting fit (and trying not to have popcorn for dinner too often – or is that just me?), we have another healthy resolution to add to your list: read more!

There are all kinds of benefits to reading – think of it like a workout for your brain! Reading helps you de-stress, stretch your thinking muscles, improve your vocabulary, and it can even help your concentration and focus. So we say 2016 is the year of re-discovering your love for books!

If you’re not in the habit of reading, and feel a little anticipation at entering the world of the written word, you might want to start small. And what better place to find inspiration to get reading than where so many kids learned to love stories to begin with: Reading Rainbow! We’re not just fans, we’re proud to partner with them for official custom gear. The award-winning children’s educational program has lots to teach adults about the love of reading, too.

Approach reading with a childlike wonder.

Reading Rainbow is all about helping kids to love reading and learning. Do you remember being read to as a child? What books never got old, no matter how many times you heard or read them? Think back to the stories that captivated you, and why. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with reading! Find something that speaks to you, whether it’s a historical memoir, a graphic novel, an action-packed suspense, a heartwarming romance or a literary classic. When you’re reading for you, there are no rules.

Read to (or with) someone else.

On the air from 1983 to 2009, the PBS show shared stories with children all over – and they’re continuing to do so with their new “Skybrary” online library of digital books and video field trips. The joy of sharing a story with a child isn’t just for LeVar Burton! If you have kids in your life, make some time for books and stories, either by reading to them or letting them read to you. You get to give their brains and your own a little exercise, all while creating lasting memories of sharing quality time. If there aren’t many young ones around, you could even try volunteering at your local library; there are often Story Hour events you might be able to take part in. Books make for a great gift for young ones, too – especially if it’s a story you yourself loved as a child.

Share what you think.

When host LeVar Burton would introduce the Book Reviews segment of Reading Rainbow (where kids got to share their opinion on the book), he always began with this line: “But you don’t have to take my word for it.” Everyone experiences a story differently, and sharing and hearing other viewpoints can turn reading into a fun group activity. Talking with others about reading can help you learn something new, or suddenly see the story in a completely new way.  Try joining a book club – or even starting your own – to get motivated and get the conversation started. You’ll find a new social benefit of reading, and have a support group of like-minded folks helping you keep on track with your reading goals.

It’s never too late to start.

Like any resolution that requires us to step out of our comfort zone, it can be easy to talk ourselves out of taking the leap and trying something new. After the show’s cancellation, Reading Rainbow experienced a fan-boosted revival. With the overwhelming success of their Kickstarter campaign (fully funded in 11 hours!) to bring Reading Rainbow to PCs, tablets and classrooms all over, it’s easy to find a lot of great life lessons. You can always start anew, you can always re-invent yourself, and you can always ask for help. The Old You doesn’t need to define where the New You is headed. If you’re searching for a resolution that is both fun and good for you, “take a look, it’s in a book!”

What will you be reading this year?

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