Program encourages summer reading
GRANVILLE — The “Summer Slide” is a term well-known among educators. It refers to the decline in academic ability experienced by children during their summer vacation.
To help combat this loss, the Putnam County School District regularly visits local parks with the PC Book Bus.
It’s the third year for the program, and according to coordinator and paraprofessional Carey Schorn, it’s more popular than ever.
“We sent a note home to parents requesting books they no longer wanted, and we had a huge response,” she said.
With a busload of books received, help was needed to organize them. Schorn said one of the “high school helpers” took on the task of sorting and labeling them by reading level into one of the many totes.
Each week, Schorn and first-grade teacher Morgan Himelick load the books into the bus and head into the communities of Granville, Hennepin, McNabb and Magnolia. She added the district has experimented somewhat with the days they travel, and to which location, but the program has largely remained consistent since its inception.
Schorn said the biggest challenge to the program was something local farmers will certainly understand — having good weather.
She was inspired to help begin the program after attending an educational conference where a school district had a similar program, but with a dedicated mobile library. The PC Book Bus may be smaller, but it’s just as effective in reaching its goal.
“We already had the bus, all the books were donated, and the kitchen staff at each school helps provide the snacks from what was left over from the school year, so it’s been a very inexpensive program to offer our children,” Schorn said.
As the bus pulled into Granville’s Hopkins Park, many children were playing on the playground equipment as they waited. They all quickly gathered under a shady tree as Schorn and Himelick passed out snacks before they were read the story of “The Big Bad Bubble.”
Following story time, the children lined up to enter the bus. They can choose up to three books to take home to read. The books can be returned at the following week’s visit, or when they return to school in the fall.
Kristen VanWingerden, mother of Will, who will enter the second grade next school year, enjoys the visits of the bus.
“He really likes to read, so he gets very excited about it,” she said.
The PC Book Bus will be traveling again each Tuesday, on July 9, 16, 23, and 30. It will be in Granville from 3 to 3:30 p.m., in Hennepin from 3:45 to 4:15 p.m., in McNabb from 4:30 to 5 p.m. and in Magnolia from 5:15 to 5:45 p.m.
“This helps fill the summer reading gap, but we also just love to see our students again and they often get to see their friends there, as well,” Schorn said with a smile.