My Living Nightmare Of Encouraging Kids To Read Is Over

In This Section

After Birth

Baby-Naming Tips For New Moms

Mothershould’s Grace Manning-Devlin breaks down some of the hottest baby names of the year, such as Cooper, Tanner, Milkman, and Serf.

Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing

As the American education system continues to place more emphasis on standardized testing to measure academic achievement, critics have argued that it can be more harmful than helpful to students’ development in the long run. Here are some of the pros and cons of standardized testing:

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Blog Post Read By Mother To Shape Child’s Next 18 Years

PAOLI, PA—Poised to inform future parenting decisions on medical care, dietary restrictions, and everyday well-being, the blog post “Fluoride Drops For Kids—Good Idea?” which was read by local mother Laurie Miller earlier today, will reportedly shape the next 18 years of her young child’s life.

Parents Of Crying Child Must Not Be Any Good

WOODBURY, MN—Noting how the pair’s failure to promptly resolve the situation was a clear indication of their inability to raise or care for another human being, sources confirmed Friday that the parents of a crying infant must not be any good.

Little League Pitcher Just Getting Fucking Shelled

RED BANK, NJ—After watching the 11-year-old give up the fourth straight double that inning, sources confirmed Sunday afternoon that local Little League pitcher Dustin Bauer is getting absolutely fucking shelled out there.

Pros And Cons Of Screen Time For Kids

As technology becomes more of a staple in everyday family life, parents are making choices about how much screen time to allow their children—and asking questions about how computers, phones, and TVs might help or hinder a child’s development.

Oh God, Teacher Arranged Desks In Giant Circle

OVERLAND PARK, KS—Appearing stunned and unsettled as they entered her classroom Wednesday, students from Ms. Frederickson’s fourth-period social studies class were reportedly overcome with panic 

Kids Teary-Eyed After Helping Dad Move Into First Apartment

BOWLING GREEN, OH—With their father marking the start of an important new phase in his life, the children of local man Barry Hunt told reporters they got a bit teary-eyed after helping the 49-year-old move into his first apartment Thursday. Teenager...

Supreme Court Gathers To Watch Baby Justices Hatch

WASHINGTON—Crowding around a small glass incubator in their personal chambers for a better vantage point, all nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court reportedly gathered Tuesday to watch a brood of baby justices hatch from their eggs.

Allowance To Teach Child Importance Of Parental Dependence

MUNCIE, IN—Saying that they wanted to instill lifelong financial habits in their young son, the parents of 9-year-old Jeremy Lambert explained to reporters Monday that they give him a weekly $10 allowance to teach him the importance of parental depe...

Sesame Street’s 45th Anniversary: A Look Back

Sesame Street, the long-running PBS children’s television show starring a cast of Jim Henson muppets who teach children basic learning concepts and introduce them to difficult issues, turns 45 this week.

The Pros And Cons Of Freezing Your Eggs

As more women choose to pursue professional, educational, or personal goals before starting a family later in life, many consider freezing their eggs as a way of prolonging their fertility.

Homeless Child Apparently Unaware He Lives In Nanny State

NEW YORK—Considering how these days the government in this country coddles its citizens from the cradle to the grave, an 11-year-old boy currently homeless on the streets of New York must be unaware he lives in a nanny state, reports confirmed this ...

The Cost Of Raising A Child

According to a new report by the USDA, the cost of raising a child until age 18 now exceeds $245,000, after which many parents will also have to foot the bill for college.

Area Mom Raving About Phoenix Airport

AURORA, IL—Noting its impressive collection of shops, restaurants, and transit options during a phone call with her daughter, local mother Carol Wingfield expressed her admiration for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in the strongest terms, ...

Hands-Off Mom Lets Kids Create Own Psychological Issues

BOLTON, VT—Saying it’s important for parents to avoid simply passing their own neuroses on to their children, area mother Tricia Eakins told reporters Monday she believes in taking a hands-off approach and letting her kids develop their own ps...

Teacher Picks Wrong Student To Believe In Every Fucking Year

ROUND ROCK, TX—Frustrated at her repeated inability to steer a struggling young person in the right direction, McClintock High School English teacher Jan Broderic said Tuesday that she picks the wrong student to believe in every fucking year. Broder...

Grasshopper Dismembered By Future Supreme Court Justice

CASTLE ROCK, CO—Nearly 45 years before he is to be appointed to the Supreme Court by the 51st president of the United States, Lucas Bevins, 8, reportedly spent Thursday afternoon ripping the legs and antennae off of a grasshopper he found in his bac...
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Pop Culture

Man Commits To New TV Show Just Hours After Getting Out Of 7-Season Series

UNION CITY, NJ—Recommending that he give himself the chance to pause and explore the other options out there, friends of local man Jonathan Gember expressed their concerns to reporters Wednesday that the 29-year-old is already committing to a new television show just hours after getting out of a seven-season-long series.

Sleep

My Living Nightmare Of Encouraging Kids To Read Is Over

Thank god.

After 26 long years, I can finally rest easy. Twenty-six years I spent standing in front of a camera, gritting my teeth, and shilling the latest works of every hack children's book author imaginable. For 26 years, I've told kids they could open a magical door to another world just by reading a book, when the only door it ever opened for me led to a soul-sucking career in the horrifying abyss of public television.

But now, at last, it is over. I don't have to lie anymore. I don't have to live that nightmare.

When the news came that Reading Rainbow would be canceled due to a lack of funding, I felt—well, to use a cliché like you'd find in one of the hundreds of books I pimped endlessly—like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Every day I went to work hoping that maybe the studio had burned down, that maybe the program had been cut, that maybe PBS would finally stop squeezing the life from me drop by drop. Now that it's over, I feel the relief a bruised and broken soldier must feel when he is rescued after rotting away for decades in some dank, forgotten POW camp.

May that godforsaken show burn in hell.

At long last, I can pick up a book and read for pleasure! Haven't read one in ages. You know what I was reading during those 26 insufferable years? Scripts. Scripts for roles that went to actors who weren't stigmatized by their association with a TV show occupying the time slot right after Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

I happen to be an accomplished actor. I starred in Roots, which was the most-watched show in American television history. My stirring portrayal of Kunta Kinte got me an Emmy nomination. But you know what? At 25 years old, when the opportunity to earn a regular paycheck working on a children's show came along, it seemed like a pretty damn good idea.

I was dead, dead wrong.

Little did I know the next quarter century of my life would be an unrelenting blur of excruciating trips to some of the most boring places on earth. Apiaries, steam trains, old mills—every week they sent me to a fresh hellhole, and every week I had to interview the dullest people imaginable.

And those humiliating books. Maebelle's Suitcase and The Jolly Postman. These were not the classics. Anyone who could glue paper between two pieces of cardboard and hire a publicist could get a book on that show. And there I was, in sheer agony, trying to keep a smile on my face while talking up Germs Make Me Sick!

Before long, people began recognizing me on the street, and inevitably they'd come over and start singing this awful, cloying tune. When I finally asked somebody what the hell it was, I was sickened to learn that it was the show's theme. I'd never heard it. They didn't play it on the set, and Lord knows I never saw one episode of that garbage when it aired.

Hoping to escape Reading Rainbow's clutches, I started taking any role I could get. I'm proud of some of them: I played Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Martin Luther King in Ali. But you know what the most challenging role of my career was? Hosting Reading Rainbow and acting like I gave a shit about getting kids interested in books.

Fact is, I couldn't care less whether kids learn to read. There, I said it.

Look, Reading Rainbow was a television program. That should tell you something right there. What I should have done is hosted a show that taught children how to watch more television. I bet they would have come up with the funding to renew that show.

All I've done for 26 years is drive to work, clock in, read my lines, clock out, go home, and cry myself to sleep. Now I'm much older, a broken man, but I've reached the end of my terrifying journey. And do you know what's at the end? Do you what's at the end of the "Reading Rainbow"? A giant crock of shit, that's what.

But you don't have to take my word for it.

Next Story

After Birth Video