- Oklahoma City Public Schools
OKCPS Foundation Debuts Second ReadOKC Book Bus
This morning at Taft Middle School, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, in coordination with Oklahoma City Public Schools, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and other community partners, unveiled its second ReadOKC On the Go! Book Bus.
The new ReadOKC On the Go! Book Bus will provide critical reading materials to students, further improving literacy rates and promoting a life-long love of reading in our community. Every OKCPS student who visits a ReadOKC On the Go! Book Bus leaves the bus with a brand new book of their choice.
The Foundation’s first book bus debuted in July of 2021 and has since distributed more than 36,000 books, visiting all schools across the district and increasing student access to reading materials. With two buses in the ReadOKC fleet, each school will receive a book bus visit every school year. One bus will be dedicated to elementary schools and the other to secondary schools.
Additionally, the second book bus enhances existing programming within the district aimed at supporting students who have recently moved to the United States, many of whom are English language learners. For Newcomer Academy visits, the new book bus will be stocked with reading materials intentionally selected to meet the needs of these students, guaranteeing ELL students have access to relevant reading materials that support and encourage them as they embark on the difficult task of learning a new language.
“The launch of our second ReadOKC On the Go! Book Bus is significant in so many ways. It allows us to reach our goal of serving every one of our students every school year. Providing our students with the opportunity to choose a book of their own to build their home library is an important piece of building literacy skills,” said Mary Mélon-Tully, President and CEO of the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation. “Additionally, today’s celebration commemorates the start of a new program to support newcomer students within our district. The diversity found within OKCPS is part of what makes our district special, and we are deeply grateful for the generous support of our longtime partners at the Rotary Club of OKC who provided the funds for the purchase of these books.”
"We are so grateful to be able to offer books that have been selected with newcomer students in mind. Our families and student population represent approximately 70 different languages, and reading is a great way for our newcomer students to connect with their peers," said Nancy Perdomo, OKCPS Director of Family Engagement Services, elaborating on the importance of having focused programming for newcomer students.
OKCPS Superintendent, Dr. Sean McDaniel, reinforced the importance of partnerships for the district’s success.
“The impact of the ReadOKC initiative can be seen and felt in every corner of our district. I always enjoy seeing our students' faces light up when they get a visit from the ReadOKC On the Go! Book Bus, and now thanks to our incredible Foundation and the Rotary Club of OKC, those books will come in even more languages to help create a welcoming culture for all. Today’s celebration is a reflection of our city’s ongoing commitment to literacy. On behalf of the nearly 34,000 students who call OKCPS home, we are grateful for this innovative and unwavering support.”
Drew Dugan, Vice President – Education with The Greater OKC Chamber, wrapped up the celebratory event, highlighting the importance of public schools for Oklahoma City’s success.
“There is nothing more important to the success of our city than our children,” said Dugan. “By investing in literacy, we can help ensure students leave high school prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that await, creating a community where people want to live and where companies know they will have access to a well-educated and trained workforce to help them prosper. Something as simple as a visit from the book bus could be the catalyst for a child's love of reading bringing with it increased economic and workforce opportunities for them and for our city as a whole. We must all continue to look for ways to support our public schools. ”
The district-wide ReadOKC initiative is dedicated to instilling the love of reading in the students of OKCPS and in our community through the diverse programming. Reading Challenges encourage students to build consistent, daily reading habits, while Reading Buddies and Book Clubs bolster students’ confidence and reading skills through mentorships with volunteers. Book Bus visits, along with Little Libraries installed at each school, also provide OKCPS students access to reading materials. Since the program’s inception in 2017, ReadOKC student participants have demonstrated improved literacy and attendance rates, as well as increased self-confidence and educational growth.
ReadOKC was created by the OKC Public Schools Compact and is led by the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation. The OKC Public Schools Compact is a collective impact model whose mission is to support improvements identified by OKCPS. Partners include the Oklahoma City Public Schools, the Oklahoma City Chamber, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, the United Way of Central Oklahoma, and the City of Oklahoma City.
To learn more about ReadOKC or how you can support the OKCPS Foundation and local students, classrooms and teachers, visit okckids.com.