Duke, RIF work to combat summer learning loss in DCSD
By Melissa Rollins, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Books were flying off the tables left and right, Wednesday, May 10, at Cain Elementary School as second-grade students were excitedly picking out books to take home as part of the summer literacy program sponsored by Duke Energy. Wednesday marked the kick-off of the program as it begins its second year, reaching thousands of children across South Carolina.
Duke Energy State President Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe read the book Courage by Bernard Waber to a group of students at Cain. Afterward, volunteers from Duke Energy helped the students pick out their books. There were books on animals and sports, funny books and serious books (like a children’s encyclopedia) and the students were able to pick out whatever books they were interested in reading.
Ghartey-Tagoe said that Duke was interested in continuing their support of the summer reading program for a variety of reasons.
“We think that our involvement in this program is a community responsibility,” Ghartey-Tagoe said. “We live and work in this community and they are our customers as well.”
Knowing that education opens doors, participating in the process however they can is important.
“One of our main areas of focus for our foundation, the things that we actually support with money, is education; we target Pre-K through career,” Ghartey-Tagoe said. “Doing things like this is right in our sweet spot. It also meets a particular need. There is a slide in reading skills over the summer period and this is a proven way to mitigate that so we want to be a part of that.”
After he read Courage, Ghartey-Tagoe talked with the students about things they have done that took courage. One mentioned hiking up a mountain with their family; another said it took courage to share their toys with their younger siblings. While a teacher chose the book, Ghartey-Tagoe joked that he had learned something new by reading it: the word superciliousness (supercilious means patronizingly haughty).
Together, Duke and their partner, children’s literacy organization Reading is Fundamental (RIF), have made a $400,000 investment in students in South Carolina.