LeVar Burton talks literacy and his 'Reading Rainbow' app (Plus, a quiz!)

Levar Burton as Geordi La Forge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Actors complain a lot about being typecast. Someone always plays the scheming villain ... or the girl next door. But imagine a career that featured roles as the most famous blind space explorer and one of the country's biggest advocates for reading.

That's the story of LeVar Burton. He played Geordi La Forge on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and hosted the 1980s public television show "Reading Rainbow" to encourage kids to read.

His television show is now a mobile app.

"I grew up in an environment where love of the written word was expected. My mother is a great teacher and she was my first teacher and one of the things that she taught me, by example, was that a personal relationship with the written word is the key to being an informed human being. That there is no thing more powerful than a soul that has a thirst for knowledge."

Listen to the extended version of our conversation:

Plus, we've been singing the Reading Rainbow song around the office all week. We want you to record your own rendition using our new Marketplace voicemail app.

And finally, we've got a quiz based on Burton's two most famous roles. We'll give you a plotline, and you tell us: Is it a Star Trek episode? Or a Reading Rainbow book?

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

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