ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Spreading the joy of reading to kids in Pinellas County is the mission of The Summer School Bus.
There's something joyous about seeing kids who are excited to read. Children at Northside Boys & Girls Club in St. Petersburg are all excited about their new books. They got the books for free from the Summer Book Bus.
The Book Bus gives kids the opportunity to read during the summer.
The Book Bus is a partnership between the Juvenile Welfare Board and Pinellas County Schools. The goal of the program is to keep kids engaged in learning during the summer months when they are out of school.
The bus makes 70 stops across the county.
"When they start the school year. It'll take a couple of months for them to pick up where they left off the last year," said Joanna Maniscalco, Community Collaboration's Coordinator for Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County. "If they're doing reading, if they're in these programs, if they're doing the different things during the summer that allows that the new teacher will be able to pick up from where they left off the last year."
The bus makes about 70 stops each summer throughout Pinellas County, giving away free books. It's been going on for seven years.
Giving a child a book can make a big difference.
"We've seen about 27,000 kids, and we've given out about 55,000 books throughout Pinellas from St. Pete all the way up to Tarpon," Maniscalco shared. "They're not going to be collecting dust on a bookshelf if kids pick their own books. They are so much more likely to read the book."
Maniscalco said just maybe one book in the hands of a child will make all the difference in the years to come.