Schools launch Read 5-Give 5

Staff report

ELIZABETHTOWN — Summer loss is not a seasonal diet or exercise program, but a troubling trend in which students lose valuable literacy skills when they stop reading during their summer break from school.

Many children are susceptible to this problem because they often go home to an environment where there are very few books or other reading resources. As a result, by the end of fifth grade, these students are approximately 2 ½ years behind their more affluent peers in terms of reading ability, primarily because of summer loss. Research shows that reading just five books during the summer can help students reduce learning loss.

State Superintendent June Atkinson wants every elementary school student in the state to begin summer vacation with at least five new books to read, and she recently launched a statewide initiative to make that happen. Introducing the “Give Five – Ready Five” campaign, Atkinson challenged parents, business leaders and community members to donate five new or gently-used books to their local elementary school.

“Too many students lose valuable literacy skills because they stop reading during their summer break, especially those children who go home to an environment where there are very few books or other reading resources,” Atkinson said. “Research done at Harvard has shown that students who read just five books over summer vacation have a better chance of holding on to these skills so our goal is to make sure all elementary students leave on the last day of school with books in their hands.”

Helping the children of Bladen County Schools avoid this summer loss is as easy as 1…2…3… or A…B…C…

From now until May 6, middle and high school students, as well as parents, businesses, and other community members are urged to donate gently used or new books for students in grades kindergarten through fourth grade to be shared across each of the district’s seven elementary schools.

Books can be dropped off at any elementary school between now and May 6. Drop-off hours are 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day. Businesses and community organizations who donate books will be recognized throughout the campaign on the district’s website and social media pages.

Anyone unable to donate books can instead give a monetary donation. With a $35 donation, the school can purchase a bundle of 20 slightly used books from Scholastic Books.

Bladen County elementary schools will hold a Give 5 – Read 5 event at their school prior to summer break, allowing students to select their own books to take home with them and keep forever. The goal is to receive 2,500 books during this campaign and send five books home with each elementary student.

To read more about this state campaign, please visit

Staff report

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