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LeVar Burton          

Literacy Advocate & Actor Known for "Roots," "Star Trek" & "Reading Rainbow"

LeVar Burton launched his acting career while still a student at the University of Southern California. At 19, he found himself on the cover of Time Magazine, after landing the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series "Roots." A seemingly impossible act to follow, Burton achieved further global acclaim as Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic "Star Trek: The Next Generation" television series – a role he reprised in "Star Trek: Picard" in 2023. However, it has been his role as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series "Reading Rainbow" of which he is most proud. Airing from 1983 to 2009, it was not only one of the longest-running children’s television shows in history, but also one of the most acclaimed, earning over 200 awards including multiple Emmys and a Peabody.

As a lifelong literacy advocate, Burton has dedicated decades to encouraging children to read. In 2017, long-standing literacy non-profit, Reading is Fundamental, acquired Burton’s Skybrary reading app in order to provide access to millions of children both at home and at school. Always committed to improving children’s education through the latest pioneering technologies, Burton partnered with Osmo’s Reading Adventure, an innovative technology that uses speech recognition and digital storytelling to teach children to read. In 2023, Burton premiered his first documentary, The Right to Read, a film that positions the literacy crisis in America as a civil rights issue. The Right to Read was an official selection at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and SXSW Edu.

Most recently, Burton launched LeVar Burton Entertainment (LBE) with a mission to create content that fosters empathy, champions diversity, and builds community. Under this banner, Burton develops projects in the film, television, podcasting, and publishing space. Now in its 11th season, the enormously popular "LeVar Burton Reads" podcast has over 175 episodes in its catalog, boasting 25 million downloads. LBE’s first Kids & Family podcast, "Sound Detectives," debuted on Stitcher in 2023.

Burton continued to exercise his passion for storytelling as the award-winning author of "Aftermath," "The Rhino who Swallowed a Storm," and "A Kids Book About Imagination." A modern-day griot, Burton launched his first book club with Fable, a digital book club community. In his partnership with Masterclass, Burton shared the power of storytelling by offering insights into his own life and the importance of authenticity, and dynamic expression.

As the honored recipient of six NAACP Awards, a Peabody, a Grammy, and 15 Emmys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Inaugural Children’s & Family Emmys, Burton has demonstrated that he can do it all. He is often invited as a keynote speaker at leading education and technology events, including NASA, ISTE, The National Education Association, FAST COMPANY’s Innovation Series, and many more. In 2022, Burton was selected as the Tournament Of Roses Grand Marshal, ushering in the new year with the theme of “Dream. Believe. Achieve.”

With over 4 million social media followers, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a dedicated park in his hometown of Sacramento, this pop culture icon has the unique ability to reach across all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic groups – communicating to a large fan base that is highly engaged and motivated to embrace his message.

Speech Topics


On Reaching One's Full Potential

The Power of Imagination

The Influence of the Media in Education

The Importance of Literacy

Technology & Storytelling: Making a Difference in the Digital Age

Join LeVar Burton as he shares the powerful impact that his mentors, technology, storytelling, and science fiction have had on his life and how each has helped shape his incredible life's work. Be there as he concludes the session with a personal demonstration of how he employs today's latest technologies in his efforts to educate and enlighten—a world premier peek at his latest project, the Reading Rainbow App.

"An Evening With LeVar Burton"

News


LeVar Burton explains his 'driving while black' traffic stop ritual ...
LeVar Burton explains his 'driving while black' traffic stop ritual. by Andy Macdonald Posted: July 3, 2013 4:18 PM Last Updated: July 3, 2013 4:45 PM.
'Community' Season 5: LeVar Burton to return, terrify Troy - Zap2it
LeVar Burton will return to “Community” in Season 5. Presumably, he will reprise playing himself in order to traumatize Troy (Donald Glover).
How 'Star Trek' Vision of Future Inspired Next Generation Actor ...
From Yahoo News: Playing Geordi La Forge on TV's "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was more than just a job to actor LeVar Burton.
'Star Trek's' Inclusive Vision of Future Inspired Actor LeVar Burton ...
'Star Trek' inspired a generation of young people, including LeVar Burton, who went on to star in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation.' Read more about his ...

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