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Groves’ Barefoot with Books Gets Kids Reading Over Summer

7/26/2022

Teacher reads book.

R.V. Groves Elementary was an open book for Gators with their Barefoot with Books summer reading program.

Students and their families visited the library to check out books, play games, see friends and listen to a guest teacher read to them.

Guest teachers read books aloud to students at R.V. Groves Elementary’s Barefoot with Books.

“The purpose of Barefoot with Books is to help students stay connected with the campus and with books over the summer,” Groves Principal Vanessa Hudgins said.

Students placed their shoes into a plastic swimming pool as they entered the library.

“Kids like to be without shoes and do not get to do that often during the school year, especially in the library,” Hudgins said. “We thought this would give it a nice, carefree, summer effect.”

This is the first year of Barefoot with Books. Charleen Bach, Groves library specialist, hopes it will continue every summer.

“With the parents involved, they get to look together, read together and spend some quality time together,” Bach said. “I love the opportunity to see students over the summer interacting with books. The school year can be hectic.”

Barefoot with Books supports students in one of the most important aspects of their education, reading.

Mom and son listen.

“What I like best about the program is seeing our families excited about reading,” Hudgins said. “It feels truly like we are staying connected with our families and keeping tabs on the progress of reading for our students.”

Gators and their families were invited to Barefoot with Books to explore the library and check out books for summer reading.

Bach said the turnout has been really good, including new Gators: kindergarten students.

“This will help with their first day jitters. [Reading] shouldn’t end just because it is summer break,” Bach said. “Oftentimes, summer is a wonderful opportunity to dig into books that we didn’t have time for during the school year.”

Coming to school during the summer break enhances the school–home connection.

“A love of reading is the best gift we can give our students,” Bach said. “Barefoot with Books is a way to give that gift during the summer months. The elementary years are invaluable to instilling the love of reading that will carry our Gators through their future years of study. We owe it to them to give them every opportunity for reading success.”