There’s little debate anymore that reading is good for young minds in myriad 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, which is perhaps why so many are enamored with the idea this bus driver had to bring books on her bus.
The idea to keep books on the bus and to encourage the students to read them – to themselves, to each other, whatever – came to special education teacher Julie Callison by accident.
“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 idea became a reality before Callison really knew what was happening.
“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.”
Students from pre-K all the way up to high school seniors ride Callison’s bus, and the books help students of all ages 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 the status quo, either, and is always keen on improving her bus ride experience. Recently, she’s introduced a “Special Guest Reader” on Friday afternoons – typically a middle or high school student. They pick the book and sit in the front seat to read to the entire bus. And the students love it!
Her post, shared by The Arkansas Department of Education, 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 en route book clubs, and Callison is excited for kids everywhere to enjoy the benefits she’s seen among 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 whomever, whenever, wherever there ends up being time to read.
As any reader will tell you, it happens more often than you think!