Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Students marching with a banner

Students looking at books on a table at book saleStudents at nine GCS elementary schools will each receive 15 free books to start their own at-home library as part of a summer reading program called MAKE SUMMER COUNT sponsored by Public Education Partners and other local organizations. 

The program kicked off this week and continues next week with book fairs at which 5,336 students will select books to take home.  Book fairs are being conducted at Alexander, Armstrong, Berea, Monaview and Grove Elementary Schools as well as Ellen Woodside, Mitchell Road, Greenbrier, and Sue Cleveland. A total of 80,040 new books have been provided by Public Education Partners.

The summer reading program is delivering the message to families and communities the importance of reading. Research indicates that when a child is able to choose his or her own books, he or she is more likely to spend time reading for pleasure during the summer. Research also indicates that huge numbers of high poverty students do not own any books at all. PEP has also provided backpacks for the books as well as supplemental information for parents and students on the importance of reading throughout the summer.

group of students lined up with posters and signsAdult female with mascot in back seat of convertible carThis campaign was developed to enhance the effectiveness of PEP’s existing reading program, The Early Grades Reading Initiative. A partnership with Greenville County Schools, the Reading Initiative aims to increase by 10% the number of children reading on grade level by third grade throughout Greenville County.

The Early Grades Reading Initiative and MAKE SUMMER COUNT are funded with financial contributions from several corporate donors, including Michelin North America, TD Bank and BlueCross BlueShield South Carolina.  Local foundations and hundreds of individual donors also provide support.PEP has partnered with Greenville County Schools, Greenville County Library System, United Way of Greenville County, Boost Greenville, and the Hispanic Alliance to create and implement the MAKE SUMMER COUNT Campaign.

“The Early Grades Reading Initiative is making a difference.  Teachers are implementing new reading strategies, and students are already showing improvement.  However, we wanted to make the community aware of how important reading is outside of school, especially during the summer. The partners we are working with are already in the community encouraging families to read more, so joining forces for MAKE SUMMER COUNT was a natural fit,” says Grier Mullins, PEP’s executive director.

The Early Grades Reading Initiative and MAKE SUMMER COUNT are currently fully implemented in nine elementary schools.  In the fall, both programs will expand to 27 schools.  For announcements about current PEP events searching PublicEdPartners on Facebook.

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