TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The Tyler ISD Literacy Bus made its first stop at Dixie Elementary on Thursday. The once yellow bus was transformed with colorful characters on the outside and walls of books on the inside.

Students climbed on board the brightly colored bus to find books, games and bean bag chairs inside.

“Our students were so excited to be the first ones to experience the Literacy Bus,” Dixie Elementary Principal Kimberly Simmons said. “Reading is a fundamental part of our curriculum and watching the students’ faces light up with interest in all the books and the adventures they hold is exciting to see!”

The Literacy Bus will travel to different schools to promote reading initiatives throughout the year. The bus will also travel through neighborhoods in the Tyler ISD community to provide high-quality literacy resources to encourage family reading.

Tyler ISD says that this will expand access to literacy activities among low-income families to help unsure children’s access to books and resources year-round.

“The Literacy Bus is just the start of our commitment to impact our student’s Successful Student Outcomes,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said. “Some of the books will be given to students so that they can build their own at-home library.”

The bus was funded partially by community partners and the Tyler ISD Foundation, providing a $5,000 grant through its Grants for Great Ideas program. The grant provided funding needed for the generator that powers the bus while at locations throughout the city.

“I was a sixth grade teacher for the longest and I heard it all the time. ‘Ugh reading, it’s so boring, it’s so long.’ But promoting reading at an early age really creates that love of reading. And it doesn’t feel like learning when you get a good book or even when you read a good passage because you’re interested in that subject,” said Simmons.

Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Hines said that early literacy is a top priority for Tyler ISD and that the bus is a perfect example of how Tyler ISD continues to support its mission of Successful Student Outcomes.

The Literacy Bus is a collaborative project with the Junior League of Tyler. The JLT plans to host books drives to keep the bus filled with books and engaging learning resources and offer volunteer support.

The community is invited to see the the Junior League Touch A Truck event Saturday, April 23, at Green Acres Baptist Church.