It would be impossible to overstate the importance of summer reading and the threat of that pesky “summer slide” that affects each and every classroom. To combat this dreaded phenomenon, Scholastic came up with the idea for “Read-a-Palooza” to help inspire kids to read… and the town of Sapulpa in Oklahoma has come up with their own unique way.
A book & snack mobile has recently started making the rounds through the town of Sapulpa from 9:00AM to 12:10PM, making four stops to offer children books to read and snacks to munch on. One of the biggest challenges teachers face in Sapulpa is having to reteach material from the previous year for a month before being able to reintroduce new things. What this Book & Snack mobile does is offer children a book to read, any book, to help keep them up to speed. Even if this helps cut back on a week or two of reteaching, it is a huge step forward for teachers. In just its first week, the mobile has checked out over 200 books and gave out around 60 meals to children.
image via Caring Community friends
Julie Enlow, a Sapulpa Public School instructional coach, helped organize this project by reaching out for donations from Sapulpa Public Schools and Caring Community Friends, which is the largest food pantry in the county. With the monetary donations, they have found themselves able to buy books and meals to not only solve the ‘summer slide’ but also to combat childhood hunger in their neighborhood. She was able to secure a $37,000 donation from United Way in 2017, and she and her friends immediately got to work on making this concept come to life.
Sapulpa Public High School teacher, Jeremy Lusk, has spent a good amount of time riding around on this bus, commenting on the excitement of the children being “almost like it was an ice cream truck.” Kids should be this excited to read, and I am so happy that communities and companies are finding their own way to make this a reality. On his participation, Lusk added:
I heard that they were doing this, and being a reading teacher, I said I’d help in any way I can just because I love the idea.
What do you all think about Sapulpa’s solution to this problem? Would you like to see something similar in your community?