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Books on the Bus helps keep kids reading


Christopher Andersson

Librarian and technology teacher at Eagle Creek Elementary Jacqueline Arnold, left, reads to Gabriel Bacon, center left, Eliana Bacon, center right, and Hana Bacon on the Arlington School District's bookmobile on June 27.

Arlington kids have the opportunity to check out books again this summer from the Arlington School District's Books on the Bus program, which kicked off on June 27.

Every Wednesday until Aug. 22 the district's bookmobile plans to make stops at Presidents Elementary, Haller Park, Timbers Apartments, the Crown Ridge neighborhood and the Mobile Estates on 67th Avenue.

"This is an opportunity for our students to access books," said Terri Bookey, director of early learning at the Arlington School District.

Up to three books can be checked out each week. Books are sorted by their "Accelerated Reader" level into colored crates, so local kids usually know which books are at their reading level.

"We also read to them while they're on the bus and help them find those right-fit books," said Bookey.

Parents said it was great to keep their kids reading.

"It's great. It's something for the kids to stay involved in over the summer," said local parent Natalie Hollyfield.

"She loves reading and books are a big draw for her," she said.

Local parent April Bacon said her kids have come to the bookmobile in past years.

"I think it's a great idea. We look forward to coming out to it each year and my kids love to read," she said.

The Books on the Bus program began four years ago as a way to keep student's minds active during the summer break.

"Several years ago we really looked at how we could better serve our families and communities and keep things going to avoid the 'summer slump,'" said Bookey.

"That's very research based. Students that are not engaged in some sort of academics during the summer - reading, math, those sort of things - they can be a month or so behind when they come back in the spring," she said.

Bookey said that parents like the flexibility of the program as well.

"If they miss a week there is no penalty so it fits into their schedules. Some of our students who are older and are without mom and dad for the summer can walk to the bookmobile and get books if the library is out of their reach," she said.

Last year had more students than previous years, said Bookey, including more than 400 students who checked out a book.

Christopher Andersson

Pioneer Elementary student Deja Reed, left, picks out a book at the Arlington School District's bookmobile with help from Eagle Creek Elementary first-grade teacher Kim Allen on June 27.

"And the average number of books they checked out was 7," said Bookey. "When you think about a book a week that's phenomenal."

The stop times have been adjusted this year and an additional stop in Crown Ridge was added.

"We're hoping that will serve a new group of students," said Bookey.

The bookmobile stops at Presidents Elementary from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., at Haller Park from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., at the Timbers Apartments office at 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., at Crown Ridge Boulevard and Vista Drive from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Mobile Estates on 67th Avenue from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

This year also includes the debut of a mathmobile which is running every Monday until Aug. 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Presidents Elementary, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Timbers Apartments office and from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Mobile Estates on 67th Avenue.


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