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More than half a million books collected during “Give Five – Read Five”

Thanks to the statewide summer reading campaign Give Five – Read Five and similar local efforts, thousands of public school students won’t have to spend the summer without books to read. As a part of these campaigns, businesses, nonprofits, churches and even other middle and high schools collected more than 533,000 books for students to take home and read to help them maintain literacy skills during summer break, the NC Department of Public Instruction said yesterday in a press release.

State Superintendent June Atkinson first launched Give Five – Read Five in 2013 as a way to help local districts reduce summer learning loss. Since the campaign’s beginning, more than 933,000 new and gently used books have been sent home with students as a part of Give Five – Read Five and similar efforts.  This year alone, 273 participating North Carolina schools and organizations distributed 533,191 books to students, nearly doubling last year’s total of 277,000 books collected by 150 schools.

“Every year we have conducted this campaign, I have been amazed by the enthusiasm with which teachers, parents and community partners have embraced Give Five – Read Five,” said Atkinson. “Thanks to their efforts, what started as a simple idea has now put nearly one million books in the hands of elementary students in just three years. I applaud the participating schools and their supporting communities for their continued hard work and dedication to reducing summer learning loss in North Carolina.”

As in previous years, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is awarding prizes to schools in three different size divisions that collected the most books in independent Give Five – Read Fivecampaigns. The following three winners will receive a one-year subscription to a school-wide literacy tool:

  • Fewer than 400 students: Aberdeen Primary (Moore County Schools), 10,589 books collected
  • 400-600 students: White Oak Elementary (Edenton-Chowan Schools), 13,000 books collected
  • More than 600 students: Polenta Elementary (Johnston County Schools), 5,417 books collected

Some schools benefitted from partnerships with organizations that specialize in campaigns with goals similar to Give Five – Read Five. Book Harvest, a Durham-based nonprofit, provided more than 25,000 books to elementary students in Durham Public Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools through its “Books on Break” program.  Similarly, the WAKE Up and Read community collaboration provided more than 105,000 books to schools, childcare centers and community centers serving children in Wake County.

“With support from MetaMetrics and many other state and local partners, Give Five – Read Five has evolved and grown so much since 2013,” said Atkinson. “It’s inspiring to see how many people recognize that summer reading loss is an important issue and have made it a priority to help young readers across our state.” 

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.