“Magic book buses” launching in June to keep kids reading this summer

GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- An idea is now coming to life in Greene County thanks to  donations and dedication from community members to restore some old school buses.

The “magic book buses” will travel throughout the county during the summer with the goal to keep kids reading. According to Kristi Wallin, K-8 Curriculum Supervisor with Greene County Schools, once kids get out of school, many often end up backsliding when it comes to reading.

“When we assess them at the end of the year and then assess them back again in August if they’ve not done anything at all like reading or anything in the academic realm, a lot of times they can lose about four to six months of their academic progress and we have to start all over again kind of in August to get that built back up,” Wallin said.

So to make sure kids have access to books all summer, two buses transformed in to mobile libraries will be making stops all over Greene County. You can find a list of those stops here: Book Bus Schedule. The stops will also include live story-tellers as well as resources for parents.

“We will have some handouts and be there to answer questions for parents. So they might say I have all these books but I don’t read very well or maybe English isn’t my first language and I don’t know how to share this book with my child,” Ruth Burkey, coordinator for Imagination Library Greene County said.

All of this was made possible with volunteers and donations. Since we last talked with Wallin at the start of the project they’ve collected thousands of books.

“It couldn’t have happened without the help of the local community we’ve had several people donate time, money, ideas,” Wallin said.

As for the bus transformation, local high school students from the Greene County Career and Technology Center put in hours of work. We were there as they got to see the bus nearly done for the first time.

“It’s a good feeling it really is,” Chuckey-Doak High School sophomore Christopher Estepp said.

“It was really accomplishing and I really like knowing that I was doing something for the schools and littler kids,” West Greene High School sophomore Bradley Hayes said.

“This gave them the opportunity to work on something that they can actually see in use in real life and how it’s going to affect the community that they grew up in so it’s been wonderful,” Wallin said.

Wallin said everyone from athletic coaches to maintenance workers helped with the bus in some way. And now, as all of the pieces come together, these buses are set to hit the road June 5th.

Link to bus routes: Book Bus Schedule

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