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The 'Wheels on the Bus' helps The Learning Alliance spread the word.

The Learning Alliance (TLA) said, “The bus stops here for literacy” as they joined forces with Rosewood Magnet School and The Senior Resource Association to hand out free books at the GoLine bus hub on 16th Street in January.

As passengers waited for their bus to arrive, they were able to sift through more than 400 books collected and donated by students from Rosewood Magnet School. Casandra Flores, Rosewood principal, and Lisa Ross, Rosewood literacy coach, were on hand to literally help spread the word.

Luna, TLA’s Moonshot Moment RV, drew the attention of passersby with the iconic Moonshot Rocket and other favored storybook characters adorning the side. Several visitors hopped on the RV for a tour and to sit down for some hands-on activities while others filled bags with a variety of new and used books.

“We've had families and students collecting books for the last couple of weeks so that we could use this to do the book giveaway with The Learning Alliance,” said Flores. “We have a group of students working on project-based learning, and part of the project they've been working on is creating a culture of readers within our school and the community.”

The students are studying the bus routes and schedules for the buses that stop in front of the school explained Flores. “As we continue to collect books, our students will go out once a month and donate the books to the community.”

Within the school, students are talking to other students about what are they reading, sharing what they love about the book by creating book trailers and commercials to promote the books they've read.

 “Everyone should have the opportunity to read and have their hands on books,” said Ross. “Some people don't have that opportunity naturally in their homes. This is a great opportunity to be able to take things that are on the shelves in our houses that we aren't really using anymore and donate to people so that we can put some books in their homes and also share that feeling of a love of reading.”

According to the article, “Access to Books is Critical to Ending Literacy by Carol H. Rasco
President, CEO, Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. in Media Planet’s Education and Career News, “Research has shown that increasing access to books and giving children the chance to choose what they want to read improves academic performance and attitudes toward reading and learning. By making books available to those from low-income communities before achievement gaps emerge, we have the opportunity to level the playing field.”

The article further states that, “The lack of access to books is a key contributor to the never-ending cycle of educational disadvantage, with 64 percent of fourth-graders reading at or below the basic level and 93 million adults lacking sufficient reading skills to successfully contribute to society.”

“Senior Resource Association is proud to collaborate with The Learning Alliance in support of the Moonshot Moment 90 percent Literacy Goal,” shared Karen Deigl, CEO & President, Senior Resource Association. “Our GoLine riders appreciate the generosity of the free books distributed by TLA and it is important to the families who ride our buses to have access to opportunities like this. We hope to continue this collaboration on a regular basis.”

“We’ve developed a Moonshot Community here, that takes a stand for children and early education, working to make Indian River County the literacy capital of the nation,” said Marie O’Brien, TLA’s Manager of Digital Media and Outreach. “Our Moonshot Community Action Network (MCAN) members are working to collect and distribute books so that everywhere you go, you can see and feel that we are a community that cares about literacy.”

One young mother opted to wait for the next bus so her children could pick out books. Teens, adults, and grandparents carefully selected books for themselves and others before settling in on a nearby bench to gobble up the pages of their new books while waiting for the next bus to arrive.

About The Learning Alliance:
At The Learning Alliance, our work is predicated on the question – What does it take to achieve 90% literacy by third grade such that we create literate, compassionate, creative citizens who will improve our world? The Learning Alliance is a catalyst for innovation and collaboration supporting the Moonshot Moment 90% literacy transformative goal by arming front-line educators, parents, and community leaders with the tools, knowledge, and support necessary for success. Through innovative, evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning, we empower teachers to transform children’s lives. Through partnerships with the School District of Indian River County, Indian River State College, community leaders, and civic youth organizations in our community, we hope to create local solutions that can serve as a model for the nation.

For more information about The Learning Alliance, please visit thelearningalliance.org or call 877-548-READ (7323).