Efforts are paying off in Wake County to make sure thousands of children from low-income communities get the books they need to help them develop a love for reading.
Research shows that students at the 10 Wake County elementary schools who get 10 books to read through the annual WAKE Up and Read book drive are forgetting less over the summer. The literacy program’s success is being recognized as Wake County was named among 27 national finalists for the All-America City award.
“We know we’re making a difference,” said Carolyn Merrifield of WAKE Up and Read, formed in 2012 by the Wake County school system in partnership with several community groups to promote childhood literacy.
The effects of the program were even more apparent Thursday at East Garner Elementary School as students picked through books collected this year. They looked for books such as the popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Captain Underpants” series.
“It’s exciting because last year we got all these books and I’ve read lots of them,” said Shytel Major, 9 a third-grade student. “We don’t have any books at home so I came here to get some books.”
Shytel’s mother, Jonika, said the books will help the students “keep their brains sharp.”
“It’s a nice thing they’re doing to give them books to read during the summer,” said Jonika Major, who volunteers regularly at East Garner.
Books will also be distributed to Barwell Road, Brentwood, Fox Road and Walnut Creek in Raleigh; Creech Road and Smith in Garner; Hodge Road in Knightdale; Lincoln Heights in Fuquay-Varina and Wakelon in Zebulon.
Books will also go to community centers and childcare facilities near the 10 elementary schools to try to saturate the community with reading material.
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