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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. Cast in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series “Roots,” at 19 he found himself on the cover of Time Magazine. A seemingly impossible act to follow, Burton managed to do so in dramatic fashion, achieving further global acclaim as Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic “Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series and in feature films. 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.

Always committed to improving children’s education through innovative uses of storytelling, in 2012 Burton launched RRKidz, a digital educational publishing company. In a deal that ended in August, 2017 his company held the global rights to the Reading Rainbow brand through a partnership with series creator, WNED/Buffalo. That partnership resulted in a successful relaunch of the Reading Rainbow brand for a new generation of children. SKYBRARY is a digital reading service filled with over 500 children’s fiction and non-fiction books, more than 150 newly-produced video field trips and new content added every week. With over 16 million books and videos enjoyed since launch, SKYBRARY is a top selling educational app on iTunes and recipient of numerous awards.

In 2014 Burton turned to Kickstarter to bring Reading Rainbow to “Every Child, Everywhere” -- especially to classrooms in need. The campaign met its 35-day goal of raising $1 million in less than eleven hours, and set a crowdfunding record at the time with over 105,000 backers and a final tally of over $6.4 million. With these funds, in May, 2015 Burton and RRKidz brought the SKYBRARY product to the web, accessible to 83% of American households. Then in January, 2016, the education-specific, SKYBRARY SCHOOL rolled out for teachers and students, fulfilling the promise of the crowd-funding project. In 2018 Burton was able to put the SKYBRARY service into the hands of, the long-standing literacy non-profit, Reading Is Fundamental, as their digital solution for delivering digital books to children both at school and at home.

Now in his fifth decade in the industry, Burton continues to exercise his vigorous passion for storytelling with his podcast LEVAR BURTON READS, where each episode he chooses a favorite piece of short fiction and performs it. The enormously successful podcast is in it’s 11th season with over 175 episodes in the catalogue.

As the honored recipient of 13 Emmy Awards, a Grammy, and five NAACP Awards, Burton has demonstrated in his career that he can do it all -- acting, directing, producing, writing and speaking. He is often invited as a keynote speaker at leading education and technology events, most recently speaking at NASA, ISTE, The National Education Association, FAST COMPANY’s Innovation Series and many more.

With millions of fans throughout the world, Burton continues his mission to inspire, educate and entertain.

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"


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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