Reading Express Has Successful First Year

Howell Public Schools Highlander Reading Express Book Bus Has Successful First Year
Posted on 11/14/2018
The Highlander Reading Express

11/14/18 - After its first summer in use, the Highlander Reading Express, a mobile library launched by Howell Public Schools appears to have had a positive effect in combating summer reading loss and building excitement for reading over the summer months. During the eight weeks that the Highlander Reading Express ran its weekly route, more than 1,000 books were checked out by over 160 students.

To evaluate the success of The Highlander Reading Express, Howell Public Schools analyzed the reading assessment data of the students who visited the literacy bus. The district looked at data from Spring 2017 and Fall 2017 as well as data from Spring 2018 and Fall 2018 which allowed the district to compare how the summer months affected a student’s reading level with and without the support of the literacy bus. The data revealed that over the summer months 52% of the students who checked out books from the literacy bus maintained or increased their reading level over the summer, while 48% of those students maintained or increased their reading level the summer before. When looking only at an increase in reading levels, 44% of the students who checked out books increased their reading level compared to 38% the summer before. While these are small improvements, the district is pleased to see that the literacy bus appears to have had a positive effect on decreasing the “summer slide” in students who utilized it.

“We had a great first summer with the Highlander Reading Express. Students were excited for the literacy bus to come each week. At many stops, they were lined up waiting for the bus to arrive. We are very pleased to see that this effort appears to have had a positive effect on the reading levels of those who utilized it and will be looking at ways to improve on what we did this summer, ” said Erin MacGregor, Howell Public Schools superintendent. “The Highlander Reading Express would not have been possible without the support of our generous community partners who funded this project, or the Howell Public Schools teachers, principals, and staff members who volunteered their time to drive the bus, read with students and help check out books.”

The Highlander Reading Express is a decommissioned school bus that was transformed into a literacy bus. The goal of the literacy bus is to build excitement for and promote summer reading while combating the loss of academic skills over the summer months. The Highlander Reading Express was funded entirely by donations from the district's community partners. Students at Howell High School helped design the interior of the bus, and the shelves were built as an Eagle Scout project, making the Highlander Reading Express a true community project.

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