Duke Energy, Reading Is Fundamental partner to boost DCSD childhood reading skills
HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Duke Energy and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) kicked off a summer literacy program recently in Darlington County School District.
The program, aimed at minimizing the “summer slide” and improving reading proficiency of second graders, will be available in dozens of Title I elementary Schools.
Duke Energy and RIF visited Thornwell School for the Arts, where Clark Gillespy, president of Duke Energy’s operations in South Carolina, read to students. Each student also got to pick out eight free books to take along with a goody bag. Teachers received 35 books for classrooms and the school library, online instructional activities and professional development.
“Once again, Duke Energy has stepped up its level of commitment to public education,” said Dr. Eddie Ingram, superintendent of Darlington County School District. “We deeply appreciate the partnership between Duke Energy and Reading Is Fundamental, and the resources they are so unselfishly providing. Fostering a lifelong love of reading is paramount to develop a child's ability to create, communicate, collaborate and problem solve. Our teachers and students are very excited about the new books.”
Families in participating South Carolina schools will be encouraged to take part in the summer book distributions and share stories together to help students develop a love of reading and experience the magic of books. RIF will also have available supplemental booklists and fun activities for families to experience reading throughout the summer.
“Our philanthropic investments in childhood literary proficiency are aimed at giving children a chance to succeed throughout school and into adulthood,” said Shawn Heath, president of the Duke Energy Foundation. “Reading proficiency is the foundation to help children succeed and get excited about science, technology, engineering and math.”
During the summer months, children are at risk of losing some of the learning and skills they acquired during the school year. In addition, existing research indicates that 75 percent of students who read poorly in third grade, a benchmark for literacy skill building, remain poor readers in high school.
“The unfortunate reality is that many children do not have access to books, especially at home; this is something most of us take for granted,” said Carol Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. “The eight books students receive at the end of the school year to own and take home really motivate them to read over the summer.”
School districts in the South Carolina program include: Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg.
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.
For more information about RIF, please visit www.rif.org.