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Five Points Elementary receives literacy grant

FIVE POINTS — In an effort to improve its reading incentive program and broaden the scope of its library as a whole, Five Points Elementary School applied for and received a $2,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation on Aug. 28.

The grant is part of approximately $3.4 million that the Literacy Foundation awarded to 915 schools across the country. Five Point’s school library media specialist Tawanda Shaw said that the school will be putting all funds directly back into helping students as part of this year’s “Start with Books, Stay with Books and End with Books” reading incentive program.

“It means so much to us, because we have a great reading program over here at Five Points and our students are so deserving and they love to read,” Shaw said. “Any opportunities for us to buy books for them, we take it. This is just going to further their literacy and help them to go through the year and into their future really strong as strong readers.”

Shaw, who applied for the grant, said that similar reading incentive programs happen each year, encouraging students to read books and take “accelerated reading” tests to earn points for recognition. She said that the grant money will allow the school to encourage more reading by providing a wider variety of books.

That variety is something principal Andrew Leak said is key to getting students excited about reading.

“We want to give them books that they enjoy,” he said. “That’s a big part of reading, giving them something that they are interested in. That is what the money is for, to update reading materials.”

Leak explained that the grant is especially appreciated at Five Points Elementary, as it provides funding for books they might not otherwise have.

“We are just really excited about the generous grant that Dollar General gave us,” he said. “We don’t have the funds that a lot of school systems have. As a low income area, it makes it very beneficial to our students, because we want to be able to offer them the books and the reading materials that they need in the library.”

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation provides the grants for just this reason.

According to a press release, the organization has awarded more than $159 million in similar grants to date.

“The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to be an ardent supporter of schools, libraries and nonprofit literacy organizations,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer in a press release. “Dollar General’s mission is Serving Others, and this commitment comes to life through Dollar General Literacy Foundation grants that will impact thousands of students across the country.”