What would it take to send every Rowan-Salisbury elementary school student home with five books to read over the summer?
That would require 46,110 books — and a very generous, literacy-minded community.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System is hoping for just that as it participates in the “Give Five Read Five” campaign that State Superintendent June Atkinson launched last week. Parents, business leaders and community members can help promote reading skills by donating at least five books to their local elementary school.
In addition to the schools and central office, the Salisbury Post is serving as a drop-off point for the campaign. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, we’ll be collecting books in our lobby at 131 W. Innes St.
Soon you’ll see collection barrels and boxes bearing the distinctive, red Give Five - Read Five logo at other locations, too.
Some 29 percent of Rowan’s children live below the poverty level, according to the most recent Kids Count report. More than 60 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch. Those children often lag as much as two and a half years behind their peers in reading skills by the fifth grade, and “summer loss” is a big part of the problem.
“Too many students lose valuable literacy skills because they stop reading during their summer break,” says Atkinson, “especially those children who go home to an environment where there are very few books or other reading resources.”
Students who read just five books over summer vacation have a better chance of maintaining their reading skills, she says.
Just five books.
Donating books is an easy way we can all help Rowan children keep reading through the summer — and not lose ground.
— Elizabeth Cook