GIVE FIVE - READ FIVE
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Have you ever heard of the term summer loss? This is not a seasonal diet or exercise program, but a troubling trend in which students lose valuable literacy skills when they stop reading during their break from school.
Low-income children are especially susceptible to this problem because they often go home to an environment where there are very few books or other reading resources. As a result, by the end of fifth grade, these students are approximately 2 ½ years behind their more affluent peers in terms of reading ability, primarily because of summer loss.
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 communities to donate five new or gently-used books to their local elementary school. We focused on providing five books as research from Harvard has shown that even reading four or five books over the summer helps to prevent the summer slump. From late April to mid-June, 74 elementary schools collected 123,152 books and sent them home with students when the school year ended. For totals by school see the chart here:
Book donation totals by school
As a part of this campaign, school principals, media coordinators and district public information officers spread the word about the campaign and coordinated book collection and distribution at the local level. Large and small businesses contributed new books and financial support to the effort. Lenovo partnered with the USO-NC to donate 1,889 books to schools serving North Carolina's military community. NCDPI employees collected hundreds of books for students in Halifax County. Middle and high schools as well as after-school programs coordinated their own book drives for their local elementary schools. 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. Perquimans County Schools even purchased 160 Nooks to send home with students at the end of the year. You can read more about that in my blog post "Technology Boosts Summer Reading, Improves Literacy Skills."
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. Under the "Resources" tab on this site, you will find logos, sample letters to business leaders, teachers and parents, lists of summer reading best practices and other resources to support you as you help us to spread the word about this important effort. We also plan to again award prizes to the three schools that collect the most books.
I believe this we can reach our goal of providing students with at least five books to take home to read over the summer, but we will not be able to do it without your help. Please donate and 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.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction