Austin (KXAN) — AISD is investing in the future of its students by putting books in their hands. It’s the latest push to improve literacy rates for disadvantaged families across the city. 

In fact, the district has several goals to reach and are using a rolling library as one method to get the job done. 

Kids in Austin are getting their hands on hundreds of books, all free to take home. It’s all in a day’s work for Buford the Book Bus.

“We’ve given over more than 2,000 books already,” said Stella Bromley, a librarian at the Professional Resource Library for Austin ISD’s Library Media Center. 

Buford has already made several stops to low-income neighborhoods and gifted thousands of titles to students this summer. 

“Who doesn’t want to escape from reality sometimes and be somebody else and travel somewhere else,” Bromley said. 

It’s an important task for AISD. The most recent district scorecard shows only 58 percent of economically disadvantaged students in kindergarten through second grade are reading at or above grade level. The goal is to raise it to 66 percent by the 2021/2022 school year. 

“The research shows that the easier the access, the more variety will help develop the reader and help keep them interested in reading,” Bromley said. 

The district is investing in its teachers, training educators to focus on early reading and writing. A spokesperson for AISD said the district plans to increase its number of language therapists on campuses and providing a greater focus to dyslexia needs of students district-wide.

“I didn’t get this opportunity growing up, so it’s something that I want to foster in my kids, to love reading,” said Elisama Aleman Ward, a mother of three. 

For parents, it’s also a priority. They say the extra time their kids spend buried in a book pays off. 

“We’ll have conversations with them and they will use these words and it’s like, ‘well, I know I didn’t teach you these words,’” Aleman Ward said. 

Buford has six more stops this summer, so there’s plenty of opportunities for everyone to discover their next adventure. 

“The idea is getting the right book, in the right hands at the right time,” Bromley said. 

Additional July Stops 

Come see Buford the Book Bus in July to get THREE free books! 

10:00 – 11:30 a.m. 

July 16: Perez Elementary 

July 17: Padron Elementary 

July 18: Hart Elementary 

July 23: Harris Elementary 

July 24: Galindo Elementary 

July 25: Brooke Elementary 

Three FREE books for kids from babies to teens! 

FREE lunch for all kids 18 and under.