Creating Reading Rainbow

The Untold Story of a Beloved Children's Series

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Pub Date Jun 18 2024 | Archive Date Jun 21 2024
Globe Pequot | North Country Books

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Brimming with behind-the-scenes stories, never-before-seen photographs, Tony Buttino Sr.'s own first-person tales, and original interviews with those who worked on the series’ development– from local educators and librarians to the national production team – Creating Reading Rainbow gives readers an inside look the foundational work, origin, and history of the beloved television show that still inspires readers today.

Barbara Irwin, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Communication at Canisius University in Buffalo, New York. Specializing in media studies, she taught courses in media and children, public broadcasting, and media literacy. Irwin worked as a Reading Rainbow Project Assistant in the Educational Services department at WNED-TV during the early years of the series. In 2011, she was named a Faculty Fellow of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. Frequently sought after by local and national media, her interviews have appeared on National Public Radio, E! Entertainment Network, and in USA Today and The Los Angeles Times, among others. Dr. Irwin is an authority on daytime television and media history, and co-authored the New York Times bestseller The Young and the Restless Most Memorable Moments and The Young and the Restless Special Silver Anniversary Collector’s Edition.  

Tony Buttino Sr. is best known for his leadership in the creation of the Emmy award-winning Public TV series Reading Rainbow. Most of his forty years of working at WNED-TV were spent utilizing and marketing instructional television (ITV) as a teaching and learning tool. And for his efforts, his colleagues affectionately refer to him as the ""Father of ITV."" A multi-year effort to use television to bridge the summer reading gap led to the creation of Reading Rainbow, which began as a summer series on PBS, reaching over 6 million beginning readers in its first season. The series went on to become a year-round sensation and was broadcast for 26 years – among the longest running children’s series on PBS. Although as co-executive producer Buttino garnered five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Children’s Series, he says his biggest accomplishment is being able to reach youngsters through television and motivating them to read.

Pam Johnson, Ph.D., is Executive Director of Ready To Learn at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a school readiness program developed in partnership with PBS KIDS, leading children’s content producers, researchers, and America’s public media stations with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining CPB, Dr. Johnson served as Vice President for Education and Engagement at WNED-TV where she spearheaded learning services and advanced innovative initiatives including ThinkBright TV, the Buffalo Professional Development and Technology Center, and Reading Rainbow’s national outreach and web priorities. With a passion for exciting children and their grown-ups about learning through media, Johnson shares that it all began as a station intern working closely with her longtime colleague and friend, Tony Buttino, during Reading Rainbow’s early years.

Brimming with behind-the-scenes stories, never-before-seen photographs, Tony Buttino Sr.'s own first-person tales, and original interviews with those who worked on the series’ development– from local...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781493077328
PRICE $29.95 (USD)

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