One local school district is doing what it can to drive home the importance of literacy. Mesquite ISD has revamped an old school bus, outfitting it to show kids and parents how fun reading can be.
It’s called the ReadPlayTalk Bus.
“This bus has been a labor of love and work in progress,” said Lindsay Paris, community liaison of Mesquite ISD. “It was actually an idea from one of our school board members to create this mobile literacy resource. The district was kind enough to donate a bus to us that was already out of our fleet and rotation. We completely gutted it. We had a custom wrap put all around it and we’ve done just that.”
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It's all part of the district's push for literacy in their youngest of students.
The new, mobile library was recently unveiled filled with books, activities and fun things for parents and kids to enjoy together.
"Inside the bus we have flexible seating for families. This bus is meant for families to go in together. Adults and children. So we have couches, little chairs, books in English and Spanish to accommodate the students in our district," Paris said. "We also have little educational games like counting and sorting. We have Legos, building blocks. We took advantage of being inside a school bus with the walls being magnetic and we turned one wall into a giant magnet board."
Unfortunately, the two-year project was completed during a pandemic, so the district has had to reimagine the way they use the bus, until it’s safe for people to get on.
"Right now, it’s just being used for outdoor events. The outside wrapping of it all is still unique and will draw a lot of attention so that is what we are using it for mainly now. We’ve been parking it outside of schools or in strategic places in the community," Paris said. "We're hopeful that in the spring, we will actually be able to allow families and students to get on the bus. We have taken some precautions. We have purchased an ozone converter to clean the surfacing and the air within the bus. I think that we have bought the limit of Lysol that one person can buy and just tons of disinfecting wipes."
The ReadPlayTalk initiative isn’t just for Mesquite ISD families. They also have a website and a podcast, that can be accessed on their website, that anyone can access to get more information on how to help children read and work better.
The district said this project is funded partially by Mesquite ISD and partially by sponsorships from our community partners and local businesses. Major sponsors include Atmos Energy, Whataburger and Puzzle Piece Kids.