Students across the state will be reading new books at home this summer thanks to State Superintendent June Atkinson’s “Give Five – Read Five” campaign. Atkinson launched the initiative in the spring to encourage parents, business leaders and community members to drop off new or gently-used books at their local elementary schools. Over the next few months, donations poured in and by June 15, 74 elementary schools were able to send 123,152 books home with students when the school year ended.
“I was overwhelmed by the level of enthusiasm we saw for this year’s campaign and how committed entire school communities were to collecting books to fight the summer slide,” Atkinson said. “Many teachers told me that, thanks to these donations, their students had Christmas in June when they were able to shop for their own books to read over summer vacation. These donations will go a long way to helping many children enter school in the fall better prepared to learn.”
Three schools will receive one-year licenses to online literacy programs for collecting the most books in their size category. The winning schools are:
- Under 350 Students: West Hoke Elementary School (Hoke County Schools), 2,675 books collected;
- 350-550 Students: Whitnel Elementary School (Caldwell County Schools), 4,147 books collected; and
- Over 550 students: Winterfield Elementary School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools), 7,186 books collected.
While book distribution varied depending on the number of donations to each school, enough books were collected during the campaign to give every student at the 74 participating schools three books each to take home. Atkinson said that she is thrilled with these results and looks forward to seeing even more book donations and more schools and businesses participating next year.
School principals, media coordinators and district public information officers spread the word about the campaign and coordinated book collection and distribution at the local level. Large and small businesses contributed new books and financial support to the effort. Lenovo partnered with the USO-NC to donate 1,889 books to schools serving North Carolina’s military community. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction employees collected hundreds of books for students in Halifax County. Middle and high schools as well as after-school programs coordinated their own book drives for their local elementary schools. Book stores also supported the effort as staff helped participants select books and offered discounts on books purchased for the campaign. Many schools held reading pep rallies and other special events that enabled teachers and students to “shop” for new books at the end of the school year.
For more information, including a list of all the schools that participated in the campaign and their book donation totals, visit the Give Five Read Five website.