Why a Book Bus?

 “Community is so central to children’s literacy development.  It’s not just the school.  It’s the school, the community, the home, and all those resources that come together to really ensure that children become literate.”  -- Susan Neumann, Professor of Childhood and Literacy Educationat New York University Steinhart

                                         (Spring 2019) chose R.E.A.D. as one of 16 nonprofits out of 1500 applicants to receive a national project grant! A Community Thrives, which is part of the Gannett Foundation, supports non-profit organizations like ours with projects focused on community building. This $50,000 grant will allow us to purchase and outfit a Book Bus bookstore so that all families can "shop" for new, quality, culturally diverse and inclusive children's books.

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Why a Book Bus?

  • A Book Bus will broaden our reach and impact to R.E.A.D. families by:

    • visiting them in their community on designated days at their housing complexes, schools and community centers,

    • connecting with families in person who are unable to read our bilingual order forms,

    • creating a “shopping” experience for these families to have opportunity to review books in person rather than relying on a two-sentence description to select a book via an order form,

    • offering an opportunity to develop a face-to-face, personal, trusting relationship with the families we serve, and

    • generating excitement at community residential locations -- “It's book day!” -- and building community engagement when families gather at the Book Bus to ‘shop’ for books, meet other participating families, and learn about the importance of reading aloud to their children.  

  • A Book Bus will allow R.E.A.D. Books, our pop-up children’s bookstore and main source of funding, to:

    • ‘pop up’ at more community events (e.g., community days, farmer markets, school events, etc.),

    • showcase R.E.A.D. Books’ diverse and inclusive titles,

    • educate shoppers about book deserts, inequities in early literacy, the value of early and consistent exposure to hearing books read aloud, and the importance of ‘mirror and window’ books, and

    • generate excitement “It’s the Book Bus” and build a sense of community with shoppers knowing buying books from R.E.A.D. Books truly benefits the community as all revenue is used to fund R.E.A.D. programming.

  • A Book Bus will build an opportunity to engage community members to volunteer at both program and event pop-ups and to develop relationships with families served. 

  • A Book Bus will offer an opportunity to partner with other community organizations at pop-ups.  For example, “book day” could be coordinated with food distribution day at the local food pantry or flu shots with local health clinics.

  • A Book Bus will be a highly-visible reminder to the community of the vital importance of book ownership and reading equity for our youngest, most vulnerable children and how the entire community benefits when the most vulnerable children build a love of books and reading. 

Book Bus

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Arlington, VA