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Give Five - Read Five to help retain literacy skills this summer

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Rutherford County Schools has again joined the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's statewide "Give Five - Read Five" campaign.

Launched in 2013, the campaign is designed to address summer learning loss. According to research, children who do not read over the summer typically fall 2-1/2 to 3 months behind their peers in literacy skills. Literacy skills serve as the foundation for student learning at every grade level, emphasizes RCS Director of Elementary Education Steven Helton, and those with strong reading skills are more likely to remain in school and graduate prepared for higher education and the workplace.

Each school has been collecting books to be distributed to students before dismissal for the summer. As part of this annual campaign, parents, business leaders and community members are encouraged to donate five new or gently used books to local schools. The focus is on providing five books because research done by Harvard University shows that reading five books helps students to better retain literacy skills over the summer.

During the first year of the campaign, 74 elementary schools collected 123,152 books. In 2014, the number of books collected doubled.

"Rutherford County Schools contributed 4,739 books to last year's collection," Helton said.

Some secondary schools in the county have collected books for elementary aged students, but books for middle and high school students may also be donated.

"We welcome books for every grade level," Helton added. "We encourage businesses and civic organizations to take part."

Books may be dropped at your local school or at the RCS Central office at 382 W. Main St., Forest City. For more information, contact Steven Helton at 828-288-2330 or shelton@rcsnc.org.

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