The coronavirus outbreak has forced families to stay home and find things to do to pass the time. And while binge-watching favorite TV shows can be a fun way to spend part of the day, even that gets boring after a while. So, celebrities have been finding new ways to tell stories online to keep people entertained.
From “Frozen’s” Josh Gad doing a nightly storytime for kids, to Dolly Parton launching her own weekly storytime called “Goodnight With Dolly,” to Santa Claus himself reading books to children on his podcast, the internet has quickly become the place for families to gather around and listen to stories being read by familiar and comforting voices.
For LeVar Burton, however, read-aloud sessions are nothing new, as the TV personality is well-known for hosting the classic children’s show “Reading Rainbow” from 1983-2006. Each episode of “Reading Rainbow” featured the former “Star Trek” actor reading stories to the audience, long before social networks were even launched.
Burton currently hosts a podcast on Stitcher called “LeVar Burton Reads” in which he reads aloud stories (for grown-ups) by Haruki Murakami, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury and other authors. The podcast series is perfect for the generation of kids — now adults — who grew up listening to Burton’s soothing voice reading them books on TV.
Note: Stitcher is owned by Scripps Media Company, which also owns Simplemost.com.
On March 24, Burton wondered “aloud” on Twitter if there could be a way for him to do a livestream version of his podcast, as he wanted to contribute to easing the tension of the current coronavirus crisis for families everywhere.
I’ve been busting my brain for about a week now trying to figure out how to do a live-streamed version of #LeVarBurtonReads. I figured that during this difficult time I could contribute by reading aloud to folks who could use some diversion for themselves and their families.
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) March 24, 2020
The Twitterverse came through with some helpful suggestions, which ultimately inspired Burton’s decision to take the podcast to Twitter three times a week for a livestream event geared toward different age groups.
He recently announced on Twitter that the first of these livestream events will take place on April 3:
Good Morning, Y’all…
I am thrilled to announce that this coming Friday, APRIL 3RD, I’ll be reading a selection from master storyteller, @neilhimself, Neil Gaiman. 6pm Pacific – 9pm Eastern. ##bydhttmwfi pic.twitter.com/gWGemxeuxl
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) April 1, 2020
Starting April 3, Burton will host the read-aloud events every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with each day tailored to a different audience.
Monday’s books will be geared toward children and will be read live at 12 p.m. Eastern. Wednesday’s stories, read at 6 p.m. Eastern, will have a young adult audience in mind. And on Fridays at 9 p.m. Eastern, the adults will have their chance at a specialized storytime.
Of course, we wouldn’t blame any adult for tuning in for all three of Burton’s livestream events!
And “Reading Rainbow” superfans will recognize the acronym in Burton’s sign-off hashtag on Twitter — #bydhttmwfi — as it’s a throwback to his original “Reading Rainbow” days when he would end each episode by declaring, “But you don’t have to take my word for it!”
In other words, log on to Twitter starting April 3, and hear these great stories yourself!