By Conrad Dudderar
Parked in front of Yukon schools and mobile home communities this summer, a book bus is keeping students engaged with reading over their summer break.
Yukon Public Schools offers its “Yukon’s Best Readers” bus through July 27. The summer program started rolling June 5.
“We have lots of kiddos come out each stop,” YPS Book Bus coordinator Jessica Adams said. “In education, there is something we call the ‘summer slump’. Sometimes, kids don’t really read or do much in the way of academia during the summer, and we see their reading and math skills decline a little.
“We want to keep the educational engagements, but also we want to give back to the community. We have so many wonderful people in our community and wonderful kiddos who need an outlet.”
The librarian at Central Elementary School, Adams is assisted by three dedicated YPS librarians – Misty Bledsoe of Independence Intermediate, Tammy Tow of Lakeview Intermediate and Stephanie Parker of Redstone Intermediate.
The bus driver is Bill Johnston, who Adams described as “very reliable” and “amazing.”
Participating student readers are entered into drawings for weekly prizes.
They also enjoy snow cones from Kona Ice, which donates 30% of proceeds to the bus.
Shelves inside the YPS Book Bus are filled with popular titles, top sellers and award winners recommended by book vendors.
“The book bus is its own entity – its own library,” Adams pointed out. “This is the second year that we’ve been running the bus.
“We run Monday through Thursday, June through July. We do a 7:30-9:30 a.m. shift and an 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift. We try to catch as many sites, locations and communities as we possibly can during those shifts.”
YPS librarians hope to grow this project in future summers.
“I would love to see it expand into a bigger bus, a bigger library with a lot more selections,” Adams said.
The YPS Book Bus distributed hundreds of free books to children and adults at a special event outside Shedeck Elementary during Yukon’s annual Freedom Fest.
“We had a great turnout,” Adams shared. “We were busy the whole time we were there.
“We collected books for a couple of months. We had a book drive, and people from all over the community brought books. We gave those out on the Fourth; we had lots of options.”
Other outreach efforts are planned, during the Oklahoma Czech Festival this October and possibly Christmas on Main in December.
Here is the YPS Book Bus schedule:
- Redstone Intermediate – Mondays, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
- Neumayer Park – Mondays, 11-11:55 a.m.
- Ranchwood Elementary – Mondays, 12:05-1 p.m.
- Myers Elementary – Tuesdays, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
- Shedeck Elementary – Tuesdays, 11-11:55 a.m.
- Central Elementary – Tuesdays, 12:05-1 p.m.
- Yukon High School – Wednesdays, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
- Welcome Home Community – Wednesdays, 11-11:25 a.m.
- Westlake Community – Wednesdays, 11:30-11:55 a.m.
- Overholser Community – Wednesdays, 12-12:25 p.m.
- Forest Lake Community – Wednesdays, 12:30-12:55 p.m.
- Skyview Elementary – Thursdays, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
- Parkland Elementary – Thursdays, 11-11:55 a.m.
- Independence Elementary – Thursdays, 12:05-1 p.m.