On Thursday, September 14 at Washington College’s Decker Theatre, Chestertown children’s book creators Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson will share “Lessons from a Year on the Road,” a recap of their summer-long trip across the U.S. visiting 53 low-income schools while traveling —with their four children in tow— to all 50 states and Washington, D.C., in a converted school bus covered in a literacy-themed mural. The idea for the “Busload of Books” tour came about after the couple realized there was a need for Title 1 schools to experience the kind of high-quality author visits they had previously provided to better-resourced schools.
The writer-illustrator couple will be joined on stage by Washington College Education and Sociology faculty members Sara Clarke-De Reza, Bridget Bunten and Nick Garcia. After approaching the professors about research on value of school visits by authors and illustrators prior to their trip and realizing none existed, the group decided to use the tour to develop a research project to collect that data. The professors ensure the Busload of Books research project would have the necessary expertise, joining their backgrounds in the research specialties of informal learning experiences and reading in education as well as experience investigating place-based inequities through large-scale surveys and data analysis.
The public, students and faculty are invited to hear more about this amazing summer and hear first hand Behr and Swanson’s accounts of the impact of bringing engaging story-telling to the nation’s underserved youth and providing pathways to encouraging a love for reading in all school-aged children.
The event will begin at 4:30 with ice cream, popsicles, and bus tours in Martha Washington Square and 5:00 pm presentation in Decker Theater, followed by audience Q&A and a 6:15 reading of Everywhere, Wonder
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