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Duke Energy and Reading Is Fundamental partner to boost childhood reading skills

Duke Energy and Reading Is Fundamental partner to boost childhood reading skills

– Program to be piloted in South Carolina’s Pee Dee region

– More than 3,000 second graders expected to participate

– Program reflects a $400,000 investment by Duke Energy

CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Duke Energy and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy organization, are partnering to minimize the summer slide and improve the reading proficiency of more than 3,000 current second graders in South Carolina.

The program will be available in 36 Title I elementary schools in the Pee Dee region in northeast South Carolina.

“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.”

As part of RIF’s Read for Success program, the students will receive eight summer books of their choosing and a book bag of items to take home.

In addition, teachers will receive a collection of 35 fiction and nonfiction books for the classroom and school library; printed and online access to enrichment and instructional activities; and in-person and online professional development to effectively implement the program model.

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.

“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, 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.”

During the summer months, all children are at risk of losing some of the learning and skills they’ve acquired over the school year. If the summer learning slide is not addressed at an early age, some children may fall behind as much as three years in reading comprehension by the end of fifth grade. In addition, existing research shows that 75 percent of students who read poorly in third grade, a benchmark for literacy skill building, remain poor readers in high school.

“The Read for Success program has been tested over two years among 33,000 students,” Rasco said. “Results show it can reverse the trend of summer reading loss for more than half the participating students.”

School districts in the South Carolina program include: Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg.

“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.”

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.

About Duke Energy
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a S&P 100 Stock Index company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.

The Duke Energy News Center serves as a multimedia resource for journalists and features news releases, helpful links, photos and videos. Hosted by Duke Energy, illumination is an online destination for stories about remarkable people, innovations, and community and environmental topics. It also offers glimpses into the past and insights into the future of energy.

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About Reading Is Fundamental
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) transforms lives through the power of books. By providing children in need with access to books of their choosing, RIF empowers young minds to embrace the world of reading and develop a love of learning. As the nation’s largest children’s literacy organization, RIF has provided more than 412 million books to 40 million RIF kids over 50 years, inspiring generations to read, learn and grow. Visit us online to learn more at www.rif.org.

Anne Sheffield, Duke Energy
24-Hour: 800.559.3853
anne.sheffield@duke-energy.com

Tracey Beeker, Reading Is Fundamental
202.536.3458
tbeeker@rif.org

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