What is Books on Bikes?
Books on Bikes is a program created by Charlottesville City School librarians and teachers. During the summer, students don’t have access to their school’s library books. This project fills this need by getting literature into the hands of our students, students who may not have books of their own at home, and keeps them interested in reading over the summer. Our partnership with the Jefferson Madison Regional Library and the JMRL Friends of the Library, provides us with books to give out all summer long.
Books on Bikes is our effort to get award winning, current, and exciting books into our community. Last summer we started our project by bringing books to our students in their neighborhoods using a little red wagon. We pulled books around in our wagon, armed with ice pops and bookmarks explaining our cause. Each student received between one and three books per week. Students followed us around the neighborhood, proudly carrying new books, and helped spread the word that we were there. Kids of various ages, often started reading to each other and their parents right there on the sidewalk. They made it hard for us to leave each week, but we assured them we would be back with more books the following week. The positive impact of the Books on Bikes program was felt each week when we returned to the neighborhoods. Students told us about the books they had received the previous week, looked for similar titles, or for titles that their friends were reading. This year we would like to visit more Charlottesville neighborhoods and deliver more books.
What do we need?
During the 2013-2014 school year, we have intensified efforts to make this summer’s Books on Bikes better. Inspired by students, who followed us on their bicycles last summer, we are currently fundraising to buy three Trek Transport cargo bikes, accessories for the bikes, and books to give out. The bikes are being provided at discount from Books on Bikes supporters, Blue Wheel Bicycles in Charlottesville, VA. These bikes will allow us to reach more students and, more importantly, carry more books. We also hope to purchase new and popular literature to add to our donations. We want to share high interest books, Newbery, Caldecott, and other award winning books, as well as popular children's books and, early readers. We will also purchase books that represent diverse cultures including the African American experience, Spanish language titles, and books that reinforce the curriculum students study in their classrooms.
Who do we help?
The children that benefit from our program are Charlottesville City School students, their siblings, and families. The neighborhoods we deliver books to are low-income public housing neighborhoods in the city of Charlottesville.
Why are we doing this?
There is significant need for a program like this. Distributing books over the summer helps to prevent "summer slide." Many research studies indicate that a summer slide occurs when young minds sit idle for the summer months. Continuing to read during summer break, keeps students’ reading skills on track for their return to school in the Fall. Our innovative project supports students who might slip out of practice with reading during the summer.
Thanks to Our Community Sponsors
Risks and challenges
Riding bicycles on the streets of Charlottesville can be risky. We are working with the Charlottesville Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee to make sure we have safe routes to each of our neighborhoods. There is always the possibility of bike theft or vandalism but we will take preventative measures to secure our Books on Bikes bikes.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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