Editorial: Give Five — Read Five

  • Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:08 a.m.

Thousands of area children grow up in homes where reading material is rare — no books, magazines or newspapers. Personal computers and and Internet access are unaffordable dreams. Schools fill that void for their students nine months of the year, but what happens to those children’s reading skills when school is out?

Summer loss is what happens. Students who go all summer without reading lose valuable ground. According to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, low-income children are approximately two and a half years behind their more affluent classmates in terms of reading ability by the end of fifth grade. Summer loss is believed to be the primary cause.

What if they didn’t have to go months without reading?

What if each child had five books to take home and read over the summer?

The Department of Public Instruction would like to find out through a campaign called “Give Five — Read Five.” It asks individuals and businesses to donate new and gently used books to local elementary schools — and fill in where schools and many homes cannot.

June Atkinson, state superintendent of public instruction, sent news of the campaign across the state on Tuesday.

“Research done at Harvard University by Dr. James Kim shows that even reading four or five books over the summer helps to prevent the summer slump,” Atkinson says, “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 school year with new books in hand.”

Just imagine.

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