For many children, the ride home from school on the bus can be a difficult time. There is bullying, lots of noise, and in some cases, they are tempted to fall asleep after a long day.
One bus driver (who is also a Special Education teacher) has a genius solution, and it’s making waves in her home state of Arkansas.
Julie Callison’s “bucket of books” is changing the way her littlest passengers experience this time of day, one book at a time. Julie has a red bucket full of books at the front of her bus. When each student gets on, they are able to choose three books to take back to their seat. Students are then encouraged to read books to one another- older students to younger, and vice versa- while en route to their homes.
What an excellent way to not only help students with their reading skills, but it encourages community and kindness, too.
Students can also read by themselves if they wish. Every week, Julie picks a special guest reader- usually a middle or high school student- to read a book out loud over the intercom. She says everyone absolutely loves it!
They’re not the only ones, either. The Arkansas Department of Education shared Julie’s story on their Facebook page, and since then, educators and parents across our country are sharing this innovative idea.
The only problem that’s been encountered is that, now that the bucket has been in use for a few months, students have gone through most of the books that Julie has. Because of this, she’s been brainstorming ways to keep things fresh.
Hopefully this will encourage other buses, schools, districts, and even states to get on board with this creative idea! Thanks, Julie, for continuing your work as educator as you get our nation’s kids home safely. It truly does take a village.
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.