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Erma’s Books on the Bus kickoff Thursday

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Erma’s Books on the Bus provides children with reading material on their school buses. Erma is a registered READing (Reading Education Assistance Dog) and a therapy dog with Alliance Therapy Dogs. For the last seven years she has been active in schools and libraries providing a calm, relaxing presence to children who are underperforming in reading.

A kickoff for Erma’s Books on the Bus at the SeDoMoCha School will be at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12 as the free program will provide over 800 books for kids on their rides.

This is the only therapy dog driven Books on the Bus program in the world. There are 17 buses and the 800-plus books are divided among the fleet. “We put 40 books on each bus and then switch them out with other buses so the children have a chance to read hundreds of books that they might not otherwise.” stated April Taylor, Erma’s handler.

One child from each bus volunteers to be their bus’ “librarian” and take care of the books.

“I wanted to start this program because in Maine there are some children that travel a long time on the bus and the younger children get very bored,” Taylor said. “The books we provide have something for everyone to read. Plus bus drivers have stated that it makes for a much calmer, quieter bus ride!”

“I would love to spread this program to another SAD and ultimately all of Maine,” she said. “In October, we will provide 9,000 books for the Polk County School System in Florida where there are 220 buses.”

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