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Library, school team up to fight ‘summer slide’

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — This summer, the Rowan Public Library and Rowan-Salisbury Schools have joined forces to feed kids, mind and body.

When school’s out, the system provides breakfast and lunches to summer programs and other locations throughout the county, and both organizations run their own summer reading programs – but this year, they decided to tag team.

“This is really the first year that we’ve partnered. We’ve kind of always done our own thing and they’ve done theirs,” Kelly Feimster, director of instructional programs at Rowan-Salisbury Schools said.

But this year, when the Rowan-Salisbury feeding program cranks up, the food trucks will be followed by the Rowan Public Library’s book mobile. Students receiving lunch and breakfast from the school system will also be able to check out books and stay for library programs.

“They get that whole experience, mobile,” Crystal Merck, elementary instructional lead teacher said.

The partnership arose back in December, when the system sat down to brainstorm how it would approach its summer reading program. Feimster said the group picked out the community’s major stakeholders in the program, and reached out.

Summer reading programs like the school system’s and the library’s help prevent “summer slide,” a phenomenon where students can lose two months of grade equivalency if they’re unable to practice reading skills.

But with the system’s summer reading program, every student will have a library card and be able to check out books from the book mobile. The library’s programs will also reach the younger siblings of students.

“We’re influencing everybody,” Merck said.

And the trucks that aren’t tailed by the book mobile will carry books of their own. Feimster said that the system received a $1,000 check from the Real Estate Group, which will be used to purchase books that students can keep.

“It really puts that accessibility to all of our students, not just the kids that can get to the public library once a week or twice a week,” Merck said.

Before school’s out, each student will also receive books from the system’s “Give Five Read Five” program, which aims to send five books home with students over the summer.

The book mobile and food trucks roll out June 13, the week after school lets out.

“So the kids don’t really miss a beat,” Merck said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797=4264.

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