Second-grade students at Walker Gamble Elementary School will go home this summer with eight books.
They won't be going to summer school, however. Rather, the books are a gift from Duke Energy through a Reading is Fundamental grant.
"This is an investment in our region," said Duke Energy South Carolina President Clark Gilespy. "Every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. This program provides the tools to help children and their families keep the students on the path of success."
Principal Sheila Floyd said the grant was part of Read for Success, a program developed by Reading is Fundamental, the nation's largest children's literacy organization. Duke Energy, she said, partnered with Reading is Fundamental to offer th eprogram to 36 elementary schools in the Pee Dee region.
Since 1966, RIF has distributed more than 412 million books to more than 40 million children nationwide. For the South Carolina program, the students will receive eight summer books of their choosing and a book bag of items to take home for the summer months. Teachers have received a collection of 35 fiction and nonfiction books for the classroom; printed and online access to enrichment and instructional activities; and online professional development to effectively implement the Read for Success program. An additional classroom set was also provided for the school library.
"You look at these hardback books, and some of them are maybe $24 just for one," said teacher Bertie Nesbitt. "So, to get more than 30 of them for your classroom library, that's quite the value."
Floyd said that the eight books each second-grade student took home will aid in summer reading efforts.
"Summer is an important time when students can either get ahead or fall behind academically, depending in large part on their resources and opportunities," Floyd said.
Some research indicates that some students who lose reading ability over the summer rarely catch up. Other existing research shows that 75 percent of students who read poorly in third grade, a benchmark for literacy skill building, remain poor readers in high school.
“The Read for Success program has been tested over two years among 33,000 students,” said Reading is Fundamental CEO Carol Rasco. “Results show it can reverse the trend of summer reading loss for more than half the participating students.”
The results of the program will be evaluated in the fall as part of Duke Energy’s ongoing efforts to support childhood literacy in the states it serves.
"Walker-Gamble students and staff members are honored and excited to be inclued in this RIF ditribution and very appreciative of Duke Energy's gracious donation," Floyd said. "Every child needs boks to learn and improve their knowledge base and reading skills. For every child in second grade to receive eight books at one time, and for their teachers to also receive classroom collections, makes this a major event and a major donation."