‘Reading Rainbow’ host LeVar Burton to read stories aloud on Twitter

‘Reading Rainbow’ host LeVar Burton to read stories aloud on Twitter

LeVar Burton — the beloved, longtime host of “Reading Rainbow” — announced that he’s bringing storytime to Twitter. Beginning Friday, Burton will recite tales live on the platform, emulating the premise of his podcast “LeVar Burton Reads.”

The series will take place three times a week and will include age-appropriate selections depending on the day, kicking off with a “For Adults” selection April 3 at 9 p.m. EDT. According to the post, Mondays are reserved for children, while Wednesdays are geared toward young adults.

The first reading will be a selection from the archives of prominent author Neil Gaiman, an early supporter of the Twitter project.

The series comes as a delightful surprise to fans who advocated for authors and publishers to allow Burton to read their work aloud after he tweeted about difficulties navigating book rights issues.

“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,” Burton said last week, noting that he had “busting [his] brain” trying to figure out a way to take his podcast “LeVar Burton Reads” to Twitter.

He continued in a subsequent tweet: “In order to avoid legal complications, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole searching through volumes of short stories in the public domain for appropriate content for families and have come up empty.”

The plea caught the notice of Gaiman, who responded that Burton had “blanket permission” for the author’s entire collection. Following suit, HarperStacks granted Burton the ability to recite any of the HaperCollins children’s books through May 31.

The host has yet to specify what additional titles might be read as part of the series.

The move joins a slew of other celebrities who have found ways to bring stories online to a wide audience. Earlier this month, Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner joined forces to launch “SaveWithStories,” an online reading series featuring a dizzying array of stars taking to Instagram to share children’s stories aloud in order to raise money for children affected by recent school closures. Similarly, Dolly Parton announced she will be livestreaming bedtime stories to children, with the aim of providing comfort and reassurance to families sheltering-in-place.