County schools plan Read 5 Read 5 effort for literacy

David Broyles

April 22, 2014

DOBSON — Surry County Schools are seeking the assistance of business and local communities to help avoid the perennial student literacy lag which occurs over summer vacation.

According to Director of Communications, Instructional Media and Teacher Quality Sonia Dickerson, the effort has been named “Give 5 Read 5.

Dickerson said the effort will be to collect donated books that will be given out to local students. She said persons may donate one or more of the books which will be collected from elementary schools or the central office. They will be re-packaged later and re-distributed to students in the county’s 11 elementary schools. She estimated 2,100 students county wide could benefit from the project if enough books are collected.

“Studies have shown during the summer students’ reading levels regress,” said Dickerson. “We call it summer loss. It’s when students lose valuable literacy skills when they stop reading during the summer break. You can imagine if this loss happens every summer how students can get behind easily so we need to correct this concern.”

She said this means more time has to be spent catching up at the beginning of the next school year, taking away valuable classroom time for ground already covered.

She said the drive will benefit county students in kindergarten through second grade and will mark the first time the effort has been held for the Surry County system. Statewide, the effort will enter its second year. The effort has been championed by State School Superintendent June Atkinson, who invited school communications directors to participate.

“Research has shown that reading from four to five books over the summer helps to prevent summer loss,” Dickerson said. “We are focusing on grades k-2 and are inviting teachers, parents, businesses and community people to donate these books.” Students get to keep the books.

She said a local committee led by Director of Curriculum Jennifer Scott had help select specific books to help participants with book purchases. The books are “Itchy, Itchy Chicken Pox, “Please Write Back,” books from the Junie B. Jones Series; “I Love Rainy Days,” Frog and Toad” and or books from the Magic Treehouse Series ; “At the Zoo,” “Danny and the Dinosaur,” books from the Curious George series; “A Trip to the Beach,” “Buzzzzz Said the Bee,” “Clifford goes to the Doctor”, “Clifford’s Busy Week,” “Guess Who?” and books from the Miss Nelson Series.

Dickerson said Surry County School’s Educational Foundation Liaison Melissa White has also been helping contact business in connection with drive. White reports many businesses are already organizing employee drives to collect the texts.

“We hope to reach our goal of sending five books home with each kindergarten, first and second grade student before they leave for summer,” said Dickerson. “This will help set them up for success in the 2014-2015 school year.” She said Pages Books & Coffee has been helping interested persons find some of the out of print titles. She said other participants have used to find some titles. Dickerson said organizers are happy to accept gently used books for the effort as well as new books.

Reach David Broyles at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.