Last updated: May 13. 2014 7:01PM - 645 Views
By Tanya Chilton tchilton@civitasmedia.com

Curriculum Specialist Shannon Swaim, left, and EHS senior Ellie Hooper look over books donated at Elkin High School.
Curriculum Specialist Shannon Swaim, left, and EHS senior Ellie Hooper look over books donated at Elkin High School.
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Elkin City Schools along with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction have a Give Five-Read Five campaign under way to promote summer reading for students grades kindergarten through fifth. The book raising campaign will continue until May 23.

“We are asking parents, business leaders and members of our community to donate five new or gently-used books to Elkin Elementary School,” said Shannon Macy Swaim, ECS K-12 curriculum specialist. “We sincerely appreciate all of our parents, business, and community partners joining us in this effort.”

Anyone wanting to help may drop books off at the Elkin City Schools Central Office. Each respective school has a donation spot, Elkin Elementary School, Elkin Middle School, and Elkin High School. The Elkin Public Library is also a participating drop location.

Swaim added that any students who want to participate in the campaign may turn in book donations at their respective schools. Grade levels are competing within schools to see how many books can be turned in to reach and possibly surpass the Give Five-Read Five campaign goal.

Swaim said kids are appreciative of books they received last year. From experience, Swaim found many still enjoy the classics. She also recommended some popular titles such as “The Magic Tree House,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” or “Disney’s The Neverland Girls.”

Elkin Elementary School Media Coordinator Shawna Poindexter said during last year’s campaign the elementary school collected close to 3,000 books, enough to send kids home for the summer with three books. Last year, some of the older kids were good about donating books they had previously enjoyed for the younger ones to read. She said she hopes that will be the case again this campaign.

Poindexter shared a wealth of readership knowledge on what is exciting today’s kids overall in the realm of books. She said younger kids love anything about animals. “Pete the Cat” books are extremely popular, by Author James Dean. They are an example of how illustration still combines with storytelling to excite readers both young and old. The author is also a painter and his Pete the Cat paintings are in galleries and bookshops nationally.

The Junie B. Jones books are immensely popular also with grades first through third. In the books, the youth Jones interprets what adults say literally in the comical series. Interestingly, younger kids also have taken an interest in biographies, such as the Dr. Seuss biography, said Poindexter.

Poindexter said the trend for young boys is a love of non-fiction and most anything about cars or the military. Titles especially popular with girls are Shannon Hales’ Ever After High Series. The books are stories about grown-up kids of fairy tale characters.

“Bubba, the Cowboy Prince” titles are popular comedies among older elementary kids and also the Percy Jackson Series, tales of futuristic fiction.

“Inspector Gadget” by Scott Sorrentino remains an old school classic still beloved by older elementary kids.

Poindexter noted another new exciting trend in the world of kids book reading and one heavily drawing their attention are graphic novels that look like comic books. “They are very popular,” said Poindexter.

Poindexter discussed the exciting new mysteries by Shelia Turnage that teach students facts about their regional locations. “Three Times Lucky” and “The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing” are helpful in teaching and exciting, said Poindexter.

Kathryn Snow, social media coordinator, noted how hard the middle and high school is working so far in this year’s campaign and gathering some of their favorite titles to pass along to youth.

The campaign added two additional drops at the high school and middle school this year giving more opportunity for book turn-ins.

Swaim emphasized the importance of the campaign as relating to literacy. She said students often lose valuable literacy skills when they stop reading during school break and the result is called “summer loss or summer slump. They are vulnerable where there are few books or other reading resources, she added.

Based on research, educators have found that children who do not read over the summer may fall two and a half to three months behind their peers in literacy skills. As a result, by the end of fifth grade, many of these students are about two and a half years behind in terms of reading ability.

Swaim said, “We believe that literacy skills serve as the core foundation for students learning at every grade level and every course. Students with strong reading skills are more likely to remain in school and graduate.”

Swaim reminded parents that children still love to be read to and encouraged them to read with and to their children. Swaim said by parents asking children questions and talking to them about what they are reading, lines of communication are opened.

Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.

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