By Beatrice Kahn
Teachers and students spend their Wednesdays at home. Whether students attend office hours with teachers, or whether teachers attend staff meetings, interaction is limited to Zoom. But after five weeks of comprehensive distance learning, staring at faceless names in little boxes on an eight-inch screen can become tiresome.
For English teacher Holly Munly, it was time to hit the road and deliver novels to her students at their neighborhood elementary schools in her Toyota pickup. In an email to students, she wrote, “I have over 400 amazing choice books collecting dust in my classroom and this fact didn’t sit well with me.”
Munly’s pre-pandemic classes used a portion of their time to read, but access to her book collection was removed because of Beaverton’s shift to online learning. Nevertheless, reading stamina and comprehension remain important, even during distance learning. Munly’s Story Lorry, “lorry” being the British term for a vehicle used for transporting goods (like your neighborhood FedEx or UPS van), is visiting two elementary schools each week for students to meet with her and select books from her class library.
Starting on Wednesday, October 21 at William Walker and Barnes Elementary Schools, Munly spent thirty minutes checking on her students and checking out books. On Wednesday, October 28, she will visit Vose Elementary from 10:00-10:30 AM, followed by Raleigh Hills from 10:45-11:15. On Wednesday, November 4, she will visit Raleigh Park Elementary School from 10-10:30 AM and Ridgewood Elementary School from 10:45 to 11:15. Students are asked to wear masks while collecting their books.
No matter which genre of books a student prefers, Munly’s ‘story lorry’ is certain to have an enjoyable novel for each BHS student. As Munly often quotes the words of Canadian poet Anne Michaels, “Hold a book in your hands and you’re the pilgrim at the gates of a new city.” The Story Lorry may be your ticket to that new city—or at least a new book.
Munly’s truck, pictured in front of Barnes Elementary School, is filled with over 400 books. Photo by Beatrice Kahn.