CPS teacher creates bookmobile to encourage students to continue learning during summer

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools teacher Dave Roche from Carl Von Linne Elementary school has created a bookmobile to make sure his students and community keep reading this summer.

Roche, a special education teacher, said he wanted to get books into students' hands as a way to reconnect after a year of remote learning. Roche could be seen making his rounds on his bike through the Avondale and Logan Square neighborhoods twice every two weeks.

"During the pandemic, students were all remote, and I knew that some didn't really have many books at home, especially books they hadn't read already. Libraries were closed, and some parents maybe didn't have the time to go out. And I had a lot of books in my classroom, and I wanted to get the books from my classroom into kids' hands," said Roche.

Roche said he began his route around the Avondale and Logan Square communities in late May from the help of a grant from the National Writing Project and the Panda New Teacher Fellowship Program.

The books in the library on wheels come from the grant, Roche's classroom and donations from families. Students can take up to two books per family.

"About two weeks later I will contact the families about when I will come out again, and if they're ready to return the books I will put them on the route; I stop by, and they return their books and pick up new books," said Roche.

The special ed teacher said he's gotten a lot of positive reactions. Lance Ross, a parent from Carl Von Linne Elementary school said it's been a great way to keep their little ones busy.

"It's really nice to kind of be involved with the school Von Linne, and just having this kind of ongoing learning throughout the summer," said Ross.

Roche said instead of receiving donated books, he'd like to see others create their own bookmobiles for their communities.
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