Take a look—it’s LeVar Burton talking about literacy. I’ll disclaim right now: I wanted to be one of those kids on Reading Rainbow doing the book reviews. Like, desperately. It never happened, but that didn’t dampen my adoration for the show or its host.

In this interview at SXSW EDU, Burton offers his insights on the importance of reading in the world. In schools, we take for granted that reading should be taught. But how often do we consider why reading should be taught? Well, here’s Burton’s take (at 9:55):

“Reading and literacy is a birthright. Every human being deserves to be literate in at least one language, because in my view if you are literate you are free. Right? No one can pull the wool over your eyes. You are free and independent. And as a free and independent thinker, you have the ability to pick up a book, take a look. And find out for yourself….whatever it is that you are asking about. And no one has the power to define your world for you. That to me is freedom.”

(As an aside, Burton’s insight was framed when his interviewer suggested that over 60% of young people couldn’t read proficiently. That’s a popular statistic, but can be misleading.)

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Don’t forget to tell us what you think in the COMMENTS about why reading should be taught in school—its bigger purpose.