Gus Bus Maintains Its Literacy Program for Kids -- Online

Apr 6, 2020

The Gus Bus -- actually two vehicles -- are temporarily parked as the literacy program for kids goes online during the pandemic.
Credit Courtesy of Jolynne Bartley

The Gus Bus, a popular children’s literacy program in Harrisonburg, has also adapted to the physical distancing guidelines, while still engaging students and getting them excited to read. WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

The team of literacy specialists who work with the Gus Bus aren’t letting the COVID-19 pandemic keep them from reading to children in Harrisonburg.

The team has started a YouTube channel to read to students, and they are using social media to get the word out.

Jolynne Bartley is the assistant director of Children and Youth Services at the JMU Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, the home of the Gus Bus.

Jolynne Bartley, assistant director of Children and Youth Services at the JMU institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services.
Credit Courtesy of Jolynne Bartley

JOLYNNE BARTLEY: They are a super excited, motivated group of people who want to make sure that we are doing everything within our power to connect with the children and families who we regularly see with the Gus Bus.

They have since branched out to add Spanish language videos, and they have sought feedback from students and parents about what else they can do to promote literacy at home.

BARTLEY: Some of the feedback we’ve gotten so far is that people have seen the videos, and they are really enjoying them. And that people are also interested in having more activities, so we are thinking about continuing to read stories but also posting videos that might have activities that you can do at home.

Bartley said the team welcomes new ideas to engage with elementary school students and promote literacy while everyone stays at home for the duration.