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, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has launched the “Give Five – Read Five” campaign. As a part of this initiative, we are asking parents, business leaders and members of our communities to donate five new or gently-used books to their local elementary school. Research done at Harvard Universityby Dr. James Kim shows that even reading four or five books over the summer helps to prevent the summer slump so just imagine what we will accomplish if we make sure every student in grades K-5 leaves school on the last day of the year with new books in hand.
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. It is hard to believe, but a simple donation of books to your local elementary school could go a long way in helping students to be better prepared for the future. I encourage you to contact your local school district’s public information officer or your local elementary school principal to find out how to make your book donation today.
This campaign can be very successful, but we will not be able to do it without your help. In addition to making a book donation, we hope that you also will consider sharing information about “Give Five – Read Five” in your workplace, church, neighborhood and with other members of your community. For additional information about the “Give Five – Read Five” campaign, including fliers, summer reading tip sheets and other resources, visit www.ncpublicschools.org/
give5read5 or contact your local school district’s public information officer.
With your help, we can encourage students to keep reading during the critical summer months so they will be ready to learn and succeed when they return to school this fall. Thank you for your partnership and support.