Multiple Emmy award winner Dr. Twila Liggett returned to Lincoln March 5 for a celebration of "Reading Rainbow," the PBS children's program she created. Liggett was the keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner for Lincoln Literacy, a community-based United Way agency that teaches English and family literacy to immigrants and refugees.
Liggett, a Union College graduate, went on to earn her doctorate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and then joined Nebraska Educational Television (NET), where she created the iconic children's program about reading as part of a family literacy effort. Known for its lyrical theme song (late-night host Jimmy Fallon did a hit parody), its soaring animation and its engaging host, LeVar Burton, “Reading Rainbow” aired for more than two decades, from 1983 until 2006, with reruns continuing until 2009. Burton is campaigning to bring it back to life.
Nearly 200 attendees helped raise $20,000 to support Lincoln Literacy's family literacy classes and had a fun evening out at the "Celebration of Reading Rainbow" dinner. They enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Beacon Hills catering, sipped on wine or beer from Meier's Cork and Bottle, watched videos and heard from Liggett, creator of the Emmy-award winning PBS program that got families across the country reading together.
Founded in 1972, Lincoln Literacy recruits and trains community volunteers to teach English language and literacy. In 2014, more than 300 trained volunteers served 1,140 unduplicated learners ranging in age from 3 to 79. Lincoln Literacy's FLAIR program (Family Literacy Activities for Immigrants and Refugees) helps recently arrived children ages 3-8 to read and to succeed in school while teaching their parents English. With support from United Way, in 2014 the program served a record 306 children at three schools and four community-based sites last year.
Proceeds from the "Reading Rainbow" event will help support FLAIR and other Lincoln Literacy programs.