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April 19, 2018

Bus will take books and more to kids this summer

Photo/Cassandra Brown
The school system’s Kristen McAuliffe and the library’s Dawn Sowers with the refurbished bus that will travel to students around the county this summer.
We do have a big chunk of kindergarten students come in without those pre-literacy skills
— Kristen McAuliffe, Fauquier’s Virginia Preschool Initiative supervisor
Books on the Bus
Tuesdays
> 9 to 9:45 a.m. June 12-July 24
John Page Turner Community House
6473 Main Street, The Plains

> 10:15 to 11 a.m. June 12-July 24
Marshall Community Center
4133-A Rectortown Road, Marshall

Wednesdays
> 9 to 11 a.m. June 13-July 25
Eva Walker Park
144 Haiti Street, Warrenton

Thursdays
> 9 to 9:45 a.m. June 14-July 27
Marsh Run community
11734 Coffman Circle, Bealeton

> 10:15 to 11 a.m. June 14-July 27
Cedar Lee Middle School
11138 Marsh Road, Bealeton

* No service July 1 to 7.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier preschool and elementary-age children will get opportunities to continue learning and reading this summer through a new mobile program.

Starting June 12, Books on the Bus will visit five locations around the county on a weekly basis to distribute free books and healthy snacks while providing games and physical activities for children.

“We hope to ignite an excitement for learning and growing,” program organizer Kristen McAuliffe said.

The public school system will run the program with help from the Fauquier County Public Library and several local organizations.

The six-week program will run Tuesdays in The Plains and Marshall, Wednesdays in Warrenton and Thursdays in Bealeton.

“We tried to pick areas that were walkable,” Ms. McAuliffe said. “Our families who don’t have reliable transportation might not be able to access the library. Hopefully, we can remove that barrier.”

Fauquier’s Virginia Preschool Initiative supervisor, Ms. McAuliffe, first had the idea to start a literacy bus in 2015.

She and other administrators wanted to develop relationships with parents and help identify students who might qualify for VPI, a free preschool program for at-risk 4-year-olds.

After a few setbacks, the program started to become a reality when the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office donated an old mobile command vehicle.

Funded through grants and donations, the program has a budget of about $30,000 for this summer.

The PATH Foundation awarded a $13,000 grant to the program earlier this month.

The Fauquier High School auto body repair class helped remove old logos from the bus. FHS graphic design student Andie Riedel designed the new book logo for the program.

Ms. McAuliffe hopes the bus will help young students get excited and involved with reading.

“We do have a big chunk of kindergarten students come in without those pre-literacy skills,” she said.

One in five Fauquier students entering kindergarten last year exhibited language and/or reading problems, according to Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening benchmarks, Ms. McAuliffe said.

“Early childhood literacy is important,” said Dawn Sowers, the public services manager for Fauquier libraries. “There is a connection with a parent and child when a parent sits down and reads to them. It enhances literacy and relationships.”

Before Fauquier’s public library opened branches in Bealeton and Marshall, it had a bookmobile that would travel throughout the county, Ms. Sowers said.

The Books on the Bus program “rekindles” that idea, Ms. McAuliffe said.

To promote Books on the Bus, every public elementary student will receive a new book during special school pep rallies in May. The Friends of the Fauquier Library will provide about 5,000 new books to distribute.

Citizens can donate new or gently used books for preschool and elementary-aged children by emailing Ms. McAuliffe, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Those who want to volunteer with Books on the Bus may contact Ms. Sowers at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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BJ · April 19, 2018 at 6:51 pm
Whoot-whoot- the return of the book mobile! That is how we were able to get books in rural (country) Midwest schools back in the 1960 - 1970's. Everyone always looked forward to the Book Mobile from the nearest town library!
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