MARIETTA, GEORGIA—The morning was damp and rainy, but it was warm and exciting inside the Leap for Literacy Read-N-Roll bookmobile! I spent a few hours as a volunteer, inside the bookmobile while it was parked in front of Fair Oaks Elementary School in Marietta, Georgia.
What a fun way to spend a rainy day in Georgia!
Not only was I wanting to encourage Stan’s work, as so many have before me—our publishing house’s co-founder John Hile, author Linda Jarkey and I had donated several copies of Linda’s Sadie Sees Trouble. The book is a collaboration between Linda and her sister Julie, both retired educators, who had the innovative idea to color the book’s illustrations with things found at home, like mustard or berries. (Try a free coloring page yourself.) Their efforts are perfect to encourage both literacy and creativity even in low-income communities—and that’s a match with Stan’s emphasis on helping some of the neediest schools in Georgia.
So, I was especially pleased to see several children choose Sadie as their free book. Naturally, I snapped photos—with proper permission, of course—of the few children who proudly walked away with Sadie in their arms.
To qualify for a visit from Leap for Literacy’s Stan Tucker—aka Stan-The-Man—and the Read-n-Roll™ bookmobile, a school must be a Title I elementary school with at least 70% of their students receiving free/reduced lunch. This program promotes positive prosocial behavior but removes the financial barrier that prevents at-risk children from acquiring books.
Want to read more about the overall goals—and see Stan in an inspiring video clip? Check out David Crumm’s Cover Story in ReadTheSpirit magazine.
The Exciting View from Stan’s Bus
While Stan was inside the school that day in Marietta, reading out loud to groups of students, other classrooms took turns visiting the Read-n-Roll.
No one pays for books on the Read-n-Roll. Kindness is the currency with this program! Students must agree to perform at least one act of kindness each day in order to step onto the Read-n-Roll and choose a book to keep forever! Students record their daily acts of kindness on Kindness Tickets and submit them to their classroom Kindness Box to share with Stan and their classroom teachers. One month from this initial visit, Stan will return to Fair Oaks to find out how well the students did with their acts of kindness.
In just six hours, 815 students of Fair Oaks Elementary went through the Read-n-Roll on the day I volunteered. Groups of students jumped aboard and then volunteers steered them towards the books that were appropriate for their age level and reading skills.
Some kids made their choices very quickly, totally judging the books by their covers. Others simply went with the suggestions of the volunteers. The most discerning customers of the Read-N-Roll, took their time, peeked inside, read a few sentences, before deciding if they had found their keeper.
Each child lit up in their own unique way when they had decided on which book to take home with them.
Leap of Literacy is hosting the inaugural Leap for Literacy Social on at Camp Southern Ground in Fayetteville, GA. The Keynote Speaker will be Antonio Saunders, Vice President of Programs at Teach For America. Tickets are available for the social at LeapForLiteracy.org. If you are unable to attend the Georgia social, donations are always appreciated and can be done on-line via the Leap for Literacy website.