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‘Give Five, Read Five’ nets 25,000 books in Rowan-Salisbury

SALISBURY — Thanks to a statewide reading campaign, Rowan County’s elementary school students now have about 25,000 books to read over summer vacation.
June Atkinson, state superintendent of public instruction, challenged schools across North Carolina in May to send home five books with every student to encourage and promote continued summer reading.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System collected nearly 25,000 books for the “Give Five, Read Five” initiative, and the Kannapolis City School System brought in more than 3,000.
“This was a great school and community effort to promote reading by placing books into the hands of our children for the summer,” said Rowan-Salisbury spokeswoman Rita Foil.
She said the number of books given to students varied at each school and at each level of reading. For example, some schools received more donations of books for younger students than for older ones.
Though the school system didn’t meet its goal of 46,110 books, all of its elementary school students got to take home some vacation reading.
“Basically, every child left for the summer with at least one book to read, which would definitely be considered a success,” Foil said.
Donated books for levels higher than elementary school were given to middle and high school media centers.
About 1,000 books were donated at collection sites at all local Sonic locations, Woodleaf Lanes and the Salisbury Post. Those books went to schools that didn’t receive as many donations as others, Foil said.
Foil said the school system wants to thank the following sponsors for their donations to the reading campaign: Duke Energy Renewables, Peace of Mind Consignment Shop in Mocksville, Daimler Trucks North America, Livingstone College, Communities In Schools, Lea Silverburg and Families First, Comfort Publishing in Concord, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, parents and community members.
She also thanked the Salisbury Post for publishing articles in support of the statewide campaign.
Atkinson plans to award the three schools that collect the most books with one-year subscriptions to online literacy programs from Achieve3000, Capstone Digital and Scholastic. She will announce the winners after June 15.
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Some schools in Rowan County went above and beyond their “Give Five, Read Five” goals.
Woodleaf Elementary School aimed to collect 2,135 new or gently used books. It ended up with more than 2,500, thanks to donations by students, teachers, parents and community members.
On May 31, the school held its first book swap, where students had the opportunity to choose five books from the collection to take home.
Lynn Plummer, instructional lead teacher at Woodleaf Elementary School, said students were excited to read their books and grateful to be able to keep them.
“Many thanks to the Woodleaf Elementary PTA and Food Lion No. 10 for making this event possible,” Plummer wrote in an email to the Post. “Together, we have been able to share the joys of reading with the Woodleaf community.”
Hanford Dole Elementary School collected 3,256 books and was able to give every student at least five to take home for the summer.
Hanford Dole received numerous donations from students, parents, grandparents and community members.
Communities In Schools of Rowan County donated more than 100 books, the Title I Program gave more than 200 books and Principal Michael Courtwright provided 300 copies of a children’s book that he wrote.
In addition, the 656 remaining books will be used in a “book trade” for students who attend the school’s summer program. Students will be able to bring a book they have already read and trade it for a new one.
“As the school coordinator for this program, I feel that we have made a difference in the lives of our students,” Assistant Principal Donna Hamilton wrote in an email to the Post. “It is my hope that this will help prevent the ‘summer slide’ for many of our students.”
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One school in the Kannapolis City School System also participated in “Give Five, Read Five.”
Shady Brook Elementary School set a goal of 2,000 books, and it collected more than 3,000. That means Shady Brook was able to give each child at least seven books instead of five.
“I have been overwhelmed by the community support we have received for this project,” said Shady Brook Principal Dr. Rachel Zaionz in a school press release. “I am also grateful to our State Superintendent, Dr. June Atkinson, for creating this initiative and look forward to the results we will see when our students return in the fall.”
Margie Zimmermann, third grade teacher at Shady Brook, helped the school organize the event.
“When this initiative presented itself from the state, we knew as a Professional Learning Community that we wanted to help our students bridge the summer gap,” Zimmermann said in the press release. “We did not want them to stop reading over summer break where they can lose valuable literacy skills.”

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