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. Public Schools of North Carolina . . State Board of Education . . Department Of Public Instruction .



“You would have thought,” Kimberly Gray said, “that you had walked into the finest of bookstores.”

The shelves were neatly organized. Selections were customized to suit the pickiest of shoppers' preferences and needs. It's amazing what a group of parents and teachers can do with one empty classroom, 8,066 donated books and 700 eager young readers. "It is,'' Gray said, "a great, great initiative.''

Gray is the principal at Don Steed Elementary School, where they took the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's Give Five - Read Five initiative to heart. The campaign focuses on the fact that students lose valuable literacy skills when they don't read over the summer.

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction website, students from low-income families are particularly susceptible because they sometimes don't have access to books at home. These students, according to the website, can fall as many as 2 1/2 grade levels behind their peers by the end of fifth grade. Reading just four or five books over the summer can prevent the deficit.