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A different way of getting kids to read

Books
Posted at 8:53 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 06:04:06-05

LANSING, Mich. — It started with a simple question--what can be done to get kids reading more?

The solution is probably not what you had in mind.

A former music teacher and now librarian at Potterville Elementary School noticed a lack of books in the homes of some of her students so she decided to give back the best way she knew how.

"Being in a library we have a lot of books donated to use and we don't really want to throw them away," said Jackie Fellow, a Potterville Schools librarian. "I wanted to get books into kids hands. Our kids do not have access to as many books as they need."

That's what went through Fellow's mind before she decided to donate 13 backpacks full of books to be placed on Potterville School buses. She calls the program "Books on my Bus," but quickly realized that it served more than just that purpose.

"It's been very successful in eliminating bus issues this year. Having a tool to keep them busy during the bus ride," Darcey Gilson, dean of transportation, said.

It's a huge help to bus drivers who often have to keep tabs on 60 to 70 kids for more than a half hour.

"Some of our buses have a lot of small children on them. With one driver, it helps the driver keep them entertained, keep their hand to themselves, keeps them seated for a safe ride home," Gilson said.

Keeping the buses supplied with books isn't cheap, but with the help of donations and staff members they manage to keep a good selection.

"I tried to put a little bit of everything in there. We had a lot of books left over. Not just donations but we had teachers retiring, so the classroom books that they had had for years, they went into the bus bags too. It's really generally what I get is what I give," Fellow said.

She just added more bags of books to the buses. She plans to keep putting more on as the donations come in.

You can contact the Potterville Elementary School librarian or dean of transportation if you want to donate to Books on my Bus.

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