Everyone who studies, works with, or has children agrees that reading is good for young minds in so many ways, from an education standpoint, to bonding with parents, to teaching social skills and even encouraging creativity.
Parents are always looking for new and innovative ways to get more books – and more time to read – in front of their kids as often as possible, which is surely why so many are enamored with this bus driver had to bringing books on her bus.
The idea of having books on the bus and using them to encourage students to read every day – to themselves, to each other – came to special education teacher Julie Callison by accident, as it is with many great ideas.
“One of the kids had a little too much energy so I asked her older brother who was sitting next to her to read her a book from the bag I had.”
Other students saw the bag and wanted their own book to read, and the practice became a reality before Callison knew what she had sparked.
“This year I added a bucket of books on my bus to encourage students to read. The way this works is, when students get on the bus the can get up to three books. After they read those, they can share with students around them, then put them back in the bucket on the way out the door. I have older students reading to younger students, and younger students reading to older students.”
Callison’s bus is full of students from pre-K all the way up to high school seniors, but no matter their age, the books help them practice not only reading, but staying focused, as well.
“Sometimes my kids can be off the chain,” she told Scary Mommy. “They have a lot of energy, especially if the weather was bad that day and they’ve been cooped up in classrooms. This is a great way for them to focus their energy on something positive.”
Callison isn’t content with good enough, either, and is always looking for ways to improve her bus ride experience. Recently, she’s introduced a “Special Guest Reader” on Friday afternoons who are typically middle or high school students. They pick the book and sit on the front seat to read to the entire bus, and the students are loving it, regardless of age and friend group.
The Arkansas Department of Education’s post about her innovation has gone viral, a fact that surprises – and pleases – Callison. The kids are amused by the fact, as well, and one of her seniors keeps all of the kids up to date on their newfound fame.
“He’s been keeping kids updated on the number of shares we’ve received and also helping to announce guest readers and other information.”
Other bus drivers have been inspired to start their own book collections and mobile book clubs, and Callison is excited for more kids to enjoy the benefits she’s seen in her own students.
“It’s something kids of all ages have gotten into. The older kids may not always like to read themselves but they do enjoy reading to the younger students. It’s been really fun for all of them.”
I tell you what – I’m inspired, too. I’m putting a bucket of books in my car for whenever, wherever, there ends up being time to read. As any reader will tell you, it happens more often than you think!