National Bookmobile Day
April 10, 2019
National Book Mobile Day is April 10, the Wednesday of National Library Week. We are excited to celebrate this year by highlighting the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation Summer Mobile Literacy Units or "Book Buses." With support from the Appalachian Regional Commission and several Northeast Tennessee School Systems, these Book Buses promote early literacy and work to prevent the "Summer Slide" in students.
Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) promotes early childhood literacy in Tennessee's birth to age five population. Since 2004, GBBF has sustained Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program statewide in Tennessee, funding half of the cost of books mailed statewide and providing volunteer training for affiliate programs in each of Tennessee's 95 counties. In addition to supporting the statewide Imagination Library program, GBBF, with support from the Appalachian Regional Commission and communities in Northeast Tennessee, promotes early childhood literacy through these impactful Book Buses.
Without exposure to rich texts throughout the summer, many students fall behind academically. Also known as the "Summer Slide," students, especially those from low-income families, can have the tendency to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year. These Book Bus programs work to prevent the "Summer Slide" in students and help Tennessee meet the Read to Be Ready literacy goal of 75 percent of third grade students reading proficiently by 2025. In 2018, GBBF provided funding, through an Appalachian Regional Commission grant, to launch these buses in Northeast Tennessee, in partnership with three school systems. Additional funds were raised in the local communities of the three school systems. Participating school systems take decommissioned school buses and retrofit them with shelving and seating to house books, literacy activities, and engagement resources. The bus programs travel into high poverty neighborhoods during the summer months providing books, literacy rich activities, and, in some cases, free meals or a snack to the families living in these communities. Through these interactions and activities, GBBF and the school systems are emphasizing the importance of early literacy and providing continued access to books and reading material to participating families, business and community leaders, and educators. More coming soon in Summer 2019!
Here is a little bit more about the mobile book buses in the three Northeast Tennessee School systems:
Elizabethton City Schools "Betsy Book Bus"
Elizabethton City Schools launched the Betsy Book Bus program in the summer of 2018. The purpose of the program is to improve literacy outcomes in underserved student populations in various communities of Elizabethton. The Betsy Book Bus delivers books in neighborhoods and summer programs to children ages birth to 18 who may select a book from the bus to keep and add to their home libraries. Volunteers are on board to enroll eligible children in the Imagination Library. The Elizabethton program is made possible through the donation of books by Elizabethton families, the donation of the bus by Elizabethton City Schools, funding from Governor's Books from Birth Foundation through the Appalachian Regional Commission, support from the First Tennessee Development District and generous community sponsors including Northeast Community Credit Union, Carter County Bank and others.
Unicoi County Schools Book Bus
The Unicoi County Schools Book Bus program provides a valuable opportunity for children and families in targeted areas across the county to engage around reading during the month of July, when there are fewer existing school programs in operation. The focus is on early literacy, and the program capitalizes on a child’s natural curiosity and love for books, through interactive read-alouds, songs, poems, stories, and connected experiential learning. There are also family education, health and nutrition components that Unicoi County School’s partners help support. Unicoi County's Book Bus is named ASPIRE (meaning to direct one’s hopes or ambitions towards achieving something). ASPIRE carries the message to children and the community that within each person lies the potential to achieve their hopes and ambitions.
Carter County Schools Book Bus
The Carter County School System partnered with GBBF to develop a Book Bus to increase and promote literacy in the outlying areas of the district that do not have access to a local public library. This grant helps the school system along with community partners and high school career and technical education programs to reach this goal. The goal of the Book Bus is to place books in the hands of students to enhance reading proficiencies in Carter County and to promote a love of reading in the community. The bus is a retrofitted Carter County school bus, prepared with shelving and storage for books.