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State Superintendent launches Give 5 Read 5 Campaign

posted Mar 6, 2014, 10:07 AM by JODIE BRYANT

There is no question that literacy skills serve as the foundation for student learning at every grade level and every course. Students with strong reading skills are more likely to remain in school and graduate prepared for higher education and the workplace. We also know that children who do not read over the summer fall 2 ½ to 3 months behind their peers in literacy skills. Children who do not have access to books or adults who can read to them are especially susceptible to summer loss. As a result, by the end of fifth grade, many of these students are approximately 2 ½ years behind their more affluent peers in terms of reading ability. 
 
For this reason, in 2013, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction launched the "Give Five – Read Five" campaign. As a part of this effort, we asked parents, business leaders and members of our school communities to donate five new or gently-used books to their local elementary school. We focused on providing students with five books as research from Harvard has shown that even reading four or five books over the summer can help prevent the summer slump. I am proud to share that, from late April to mid-June, 74 elementary schools collected 123,152 books to send home with students when the school year ended. 
 
As a part of this campaign, school principals, media coordinators, teachers and district public information officers spread the word about the campaign and coordinated book collection and distribution. Large and small businesses contributed new books and offered financial support. Middle and high schools as well as 
after-school programs coordinated their own book drives. Book stores also supported the effort as staff helped participants select books and offered discounts on books purchased for the campaign. Many schools held reading pep rallies and other special events that enabled teachers and students to "shop" for new books at the 
end of the school year.  

We were pleased with all of the creative and enthusiastic responses to our campaign in 2013 and this year, we hope to collect even more books for students across the state. I believe that, with your help, we can reach our goal of providing students with at least five books to take home to read over the summer. To participate, 
please contact your child’s school to find out how to make a book donation. There are a number of resources available online at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/give5read5/ to encourage others to GIVE FIVE books today to help students READ FIVE this summer so they can be more successful in the new school year. 
 
Sincerely, 
June St. Clair Atkinson
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