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June 3, 2015

Newton County School System (NCSS) Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey encourages all students to read a good book—or ten, during the summer break.

“Reading is fundamental to all other disciplines and is a skill that must be practiced continuously,” said Fuhrey. “Students who read throughout the summer are better prepared when they return to school because they avoid the ‘summer slide’ that occurs when students are away from school for an extended period of time. It is important that our students read at or above grade level as they exit grade three. Research indicates that students who are successful readers by grade three often have greater success in the future.”

Knowing that some children just don’t have access to books when school is closed, early in the 2014-2015 school year, Fuhrey set in motion plans to help provide books for students during the summer months. On June 11, that plan will come to fruition, as the first ever NCSS Summer Book Bus will make its way around the county to provide free books for students of all ages.

“Our Newton County School System Book Bus will facilitate student and family access to books by taking books to the neighborhoods we serve,” said Fuhrey. “Our students must read more and often. Providing free books that do not have to be returned removes a potential barrier to reading.”

According to Shannon Buff, NCSS Director of Secondary Curriculum, that “summer slide” can account for a very significant loss—as much as two months of achievement gains. Reading during the summer break is a very effective way of combating that problem.

“We’re hoping that by getting good books into the hands of our students who might otherwise not have access to them, we can help prevent that achievement loss,” said Buff.

In order to stock the Book Bus, NCSS held a book drive during the month of March to collect books for students of all ages. The district also purchased books at a discounted rate through Scholastic.

“We have approximately 2,000 books,” said Buff. “And we’re still collecting them as we prepare to go out into the community next week. If anyone would like to donate new or gently used books for pre-kindergarten through high school students, we’d love to have them. We’ll screen them before placing them on the bus for delivery on June 11.”

Buff said any book donations can be brought to the Newton County School System’s Administrative Offices located at 2109 Newton Drive NE, before June 11. The office building will be closed on Friday, June 5 as part of the NCSS summer work schedule.

The NCSS Summer Book Bus along with Elvis the Safety Owl, will officially hit the road on Thursday, June 11, and will make four stops in the county to deliver free books to students. Book Bus times and stops are as follows:

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM
Historic Porterdale Gym
Main Street

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM
The Ellington Community Clubhouse
345 Greenway Drive

1:00 PM – 1:45 PM
The Enclave at Gross Lake
Enclave Pavilion
Gross Lake Parkway

2:15 PM – 3:00 PM
Housing Authority of the City of Covington
Basketball Court
Intersection of Turner Street and Nixon Circle

Unlike traditional libraries, the NCSS Book Bus won’t require children to return the books.

“We want them to keep the books and enjoy them,” said Fuhrey. “It is my hope that the Book Bus returns empty, and our students’ personal libraries are enhanced.”

“I am excited about this wonderful opportunity for our students and parents,” said Buff. “I hope that students will take advantage of the Book Bus and open their minds by opening a good book this summer.”

For more information, contact Ms. Sherri Davis-Viniard, Director of Public Relations for Newton County School System, at