Kids are gearing up to head back to class in just a few weeks and one book bus is making its last round of the summer.
Gaining Ground says it’s seen more students than ever before, and this is a crucial summer for kids to be staying ahead on their reading.
Usually, when you think about kids reading books over the summer, you think of visiting a quiet library, but this is quite the opposite! Gaining Ground is a local non-profit based inside a bus that helps kids stay engaged in reading all summer long.
"They get to shop for new books, keep books, trade out books, write about books,” said Gaining Ground Executive Director, Lisa Shotts.
Shotts says they see about four to five hundred kids every Wednesday and despite the pandemic, this is the biggest summer they've ever had.
"Sometimes they start the summer and they're just choosing books, and by the end of the summer like right now they are asking for specific authors they're asking for specific titles,” said Shotts.
Shotts says if kids don't have access to books, they'll lose the skills they gained during the previous school year.
"From kindergarten to the sixth grade they will lose about three years of academic growth throughout that time because of lack of access to books,” said Shotts.
Ellen Ochoa 5th Grader Duane Polite says he loves hopping on the book bus because he gets to see his favorite teachers and find something new to read!
"I like reading a lot of chapter books about comics,” said Polite.
He's inspiring his younger brother and sister to love books too!
"I usually read while we are riding to a place or at home,” said Polite.
It doesn't stop there! The bus has books for kids as young as 4 to as old as 14.
"I love reading about history if you couldn't tell,” said Union Public Schools 8th Grader, Bailey Martin.
Martin says she loves seeing some of her former teachers on the book bus and picking out new books to reach each week.
"It’s just really nice to know that they're coming and I have that support system to get books,” said Martin.
Building readers, thinkers, and leaders of tomorrow.
"That’s what we do. we're building community and a community of readers is our goal," said Shotts.
Gaining Ground is a local nonprofit, completely funded by donors in the community, so if you’d like to help just CLICK HERE