Duke Energy invests in reading partnership to help children in the Pee Dee

GREENVILLE, SC – Duke Energy is working with the nation’s largest children’s literacy organization, Reading is Fundamental,  for a second year to minimize the summer slide and improve the reading proficiency of more than 3,000 second graders in the state.

The program will be available in 36 Title I elementary schools in the Pee Dee region. School districts in the South Carolina program include Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg.

During the summer months, children are at risk of losing some of the skills they’ve picked up over the school year. If the summer learning slide is not addressed at an early age, some children might fall behind as much as three years in reading comprehension by the end of fifth grade. Research shows that 75 percent of students who read poorly in third grade remain poor readers in high school.

Last year, data was reported from 28 schools comparing second graders’ test performance in spring 2016 compared to third graders in fall 2016. More than half of those reporting showed gains or no change in reading proficiency, a successful outcome for the first year of this type of program.

Angela Lisenby, a school reading specialist in McColl, says the books “definitely motivated” children to read. “The students were very excited,” Lisenby said. “I even had one tell me, ‘It feels like Christmas. I’ve never had my own books.’ There was not one child that wasn’t engaged.”

As part of the program, the students receive eight books of their choosing and a book bag, journal and other items to take home to enhance reading over the summer months. Last year, more than 26,000 books went home with students for the summer. In addition, teachers receive a collection of 35 fiction and nonfiction books for the classroom library, printed and online access to enrichment and instructional activities; and in-person and online professional development to effectively implement the program model.

“The unfortunate reality is that six out of 10 low-income families have no age-appropriate books in their homes,” said Alicia Levi, president and CEO of Reading is Fundamental. “The eight books and literacy resources students take home at the end of the school year not only motivate them to read over the summer, but more importantly, provide the fundamental building blocks needed to achieve their highest potential.”

Reading Is Fundamental has provided more than 412 million books to 40 million kids over 50 years.

Information above is from a submitted press release.