“Book Bus” Drives Summer Literacy Program Right to Students’ Neighborhoods
Looking for a creative way to bring literacy to children during the summer months when students often regress academically, Alvin Independent School District (ISD)—located outside Houston, TX—came up with the idea of a traveling summer library in the form of a “Book Bus.”
“We have a lot of students…who don’t have books at home and because they don’t have transportation they cannot go to the public libraries or to the schools to continue reading,” explained Ana Pasarella, Director of Family Engagement for Alvin ISD. Pasarella proposed the idea of The Book Bus to her superintendent and immediately got the green light.
School district members, local teachers, and students came together to build the library-like components within the bus and donate books.
The bus travels to different areas throughout Alvin ISD, bringing books and literacy programs right to the students’ neighborhoods. “About 3,000 books were circulated our first summer,” shared Pasarella. “An additional 3,000 to 4,000 books were given out for free.”
In addition to checking out books, children participate in reading programs offered on The Book Bus. These programs include interactive activities led by educators, and digital language and literacy programs by Imagine Learning—an edtech company based in Utah—that run on Ipads.
“Imagine Learning has been a huge part from the beginning,” said Sheila Olson, Executive Director of Alvin ISD Education Foundation. “[They] became the only program we discussed, especially after talking with Imagine Learning and seeing their level of excitement of getting involved.” Schools in Alvin ISD used Imagine Learning products and saw notable results before they decided to incorporate the technology into The Book Bus.
“We use all four of the Imagine Learning product programs on our campuses,” shared Kathy Windsor, Executive Director of Federal and Special Programs for Alvin ISD. “They’re giving us the results we’re hoping for or we wouldn’t keep using them.”
“The first time I went on The Book Bus I was floored by the type of technology they had inside of it,” shared Melissa Vazquez, a parent from Alvin ISD. “The learning is engaged through game and play.”
The educators involved with The Book Bus project hope this is one way they can help local children reach their academic potential. “We’re giving these parents and these students opportunities to be successful in the future,” expressed Pasarella.
Vazquez agreed. “Every school district needs a Book Bus.”
For more information, watch this short video about The Book Bus.