CABOT — Avie Singleton spent part of Thursday afternoon last week looking through books for a little bit of summer reading. Avie — who will be in the third grade in August — said he likes to read “crazy stories,” and he boarded a brightly colored bus to find the perfect book to fit the bill.
The Cabot Summer Reading Roadtrip bus is one effort by the Cabot Public School District to encourage students to keep reading during summer break. The bus, stocked with books donated by people in the community, will visit several stops daily throughout the summer.
When the bright blue bus pulls up to a stop, the doors open and the music starts, inviting visitors in to see what books are available. Upon entering, visitors are welcomed by one of the bus’s operators and handed a bag with the borrower’s name on it. The books are organized into categories, and each person is allowed to borrow up to three books per visit.
After a few glances through the selection of books, Avie settled on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, to take home from the bus.
“I’ve already watched the movie,” he said, “but I’m still excited to read the book.”
Meanwhile, 6-year-old Katie Shirron picked out several books, including Huggly’s Christmas and Pretty Little Lilly and the Land of Sweet Dreams. Katie — who will enter the first grade in August — said this was her first time on the bus, and she thought it was cool to be able to pick out books to read.
In the first nine days the Cabot Summer Reading Roadtrip rolled through town, 539 visitors borrowed books from the story-filled school bus, said Stephanie Hanley, a third-grade teacher at Eastside Elementary School and a Reading Roadtrip worker.
“We had 96 on our first day,” Hanley said. “We also had a big crowd at the Cabot Silver Screen Theater [on June 19]. It’s been really great.”
The selection of books includes picture books, easy chapter books, reference books and books for adults. Hanley said there are virtually no requirements for borrowing books — the bus is not limited to Cabot residents, and bus operators do not keep track of who has what book. The only records kept on book-borrowers is a simple count of how many came to visit at each stop.
Bus driver Larry LaRue said people who borrow books from the bus are asked to bring them back at their next visit, but those who run the bus program do not sweat it if books go missing.
“It’s kind of an honor system,” LaRue said. “We try to give the kids a sense of accountability.”
During the school year, LaRue visits preschools and day care centers with the mobile library. During the summer, his duties expand to encompass more stops so more people of all ages have access to the books.
Today, the Cabot Summer Reading Roadtrip will be at Village Square Apartments at noon, the Cabot Silver Screen Theater at 1 p.m. and at the Academic Center of Excellence at 2 p.m. On Friday, the bus will stop at Magness Creek Elementary School at noon and Magness Creek North and Magness Creek Village at 12:30 p.m.
The full schedule for the Cabot Summer Reading Roadtrip can be found at www.cabotschools.org/news/643/2014-summer-reading-bus-stops.
Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.