Pinellas County Schools are working to stop kids from losing reading skills over the summer months. Right now, 44 percent of Pinellas County School's third graders are not at reading level.
In Katie Davies' fourth-grade class, reading teaches about life. She is on the front lines of the fight to improve literacy every day.
"Do you think he's surprised that in Harlem, in New York City, this gigantic place, that people know one another?" she asked her students while reading a book.
Davies has had some of her fourth graders show up with a first grade reading level and works all year to get them where they need to be.
But if they have three months with no books, she said kids are apt to fall behind.
"Things that were easy for them in May, all the sudden are difficult," Davies said. "They may feel that frustration and you may see it within them because they know."
This week, Pinellas County Schools are calling on the community to help buy new books or donate their own books to struggling readers.
This summer, a bus will travel all over the district giving families free books and donating to summer bridge programs for struggling students.
"Allowing our students to come back into school, ready to go from day one, versus having to get back into the game," said Dywayne Hinds, Pinellas director for middle school education.
This teacher says giving any books you can will make a real impact.
"If it's something that you don't read anymore or it's something that your kids have outgrown, just donate," Davies said. "It helps everybody."
Help put books in the hands of students by donating books next week.
Fill the Bus drop-off dates and locations:
- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.,Tuesday, April 26 at Tyrone Square Mall, 6901 22nd Ave N., St. Petersburg
- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.,Wednesday, April 27, Largo Mall, 10500 Ulmerton Road, Largo
- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.,Thursday, April 28, Countryside Mall, 27001 US Highway 19 N, Clearwater
Donations are also being accepted at Barnes & Noble stores and online.
Learn more about Fill the Bus.