MEMPHIS, Tenn — Shelby County Schools have nearly completed five weeks of virtual learning and one elementary school is making efforts to get books into the hands of its students.
With students being at home, they have essentially been cut off from their school libraries. Every Thursday, Bruce Elementary will reopen its library for parents and students to come in and check out books to take home.
Principal Archie Moss Jr. has connected with his students virtually long before the pandemic with his weekly bedtime series on Facebook.
“We’ve seen as a school that we’ve seen massive growth with math and science but we haven’t been seeing those drastic changes in reading so we’ve constantly been trying to find nonconventional ways of making sure students enjoy reading, have a love for reading and the reading will set them free in this world," he said.
Moss said they jumped on the chance to reopen the library for students to visit. Their concern, he said, is keeping students on track with improving their reading skills.
"The opportunity and the ability for the students to come into the library and choose a book of their liking on their choice, on their specific level, I think is powerful," Moss said. "[It] will allow those scholars to get a little more excited about reading."
Moss said the idea to reopen to the library came from a parent inquiring about books. While students read during virtual classes, he said many students don't have access to books of their own at home.
“I definitely think this is going to address some of those issues," he said. "There’s a large percentage of students who do not have access to books and I think it’s a small idea but I think and hope it will lead to a big impact for our scholars to let them continue improving their reading abilities so that when we do return to school we’re not missing a beat.”
The district reports 61% of children of low-income backgrounds do not have books at home.
Parents and students can pick up the books every Thursday before 5 p.m. at the school. Moss said they intentionally chose to open the library on Thursdays because it's the same day that parents can pick up meals for their children each week.