Research Study Shows Positive Trends for Summer Reading Program

For the second consecutive year, Public Education Partners (PEP), Greenville County’s only nonprofit focused solely on improving K–12 public education, collaborated with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, to determine the impact of PEP’s award-winning Make Summer Count (MSC) initiative, which reaches more than 18,000 K–5 students across 29 elementary schools in Greenville County.

Make Summer Count is a reading initiative with the goal to help eliminate summer reading loss by supporting learning while students are out of school through increased access to books and family engagement activities. The initiative consists of two opportunities for literacy engagement:

  • MSC Book Celebrations, which helped students build home libraries by allowing them to self-select 10 free, age-appropriate, high-interest books to take home and read over the summer.
  • Family Reading Night events, where at 27 different schools over the summer, families were invited to learn strategies to support their children’s reading and children went home with additional books.

Research findings from Make Summer Count 2017 reveal a consistency in results from Make Summer Count 2016 research, emphasizing positive trends in family engagement as well as positive student attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors about reading.

Key findings from the research in 2016 and 2017 include:

  • For the second year, more than 75% of students agreed they were better readers in the fall because of the reading they did over the summer.
  • Over two consecutive summers, MSC students reported reading more than 14 books, compared to the national average of 12 books – a statistic reported in the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™: 6th Edition.
  • In 2016, 98% of families agreed that reading books over the summer would help their children during the school year; in 2017 this increased to a full 100% of families agreeing to a similar statement.
  • In 2017, ninety-five percent of families agreed that Family Reading Nights were valuable in learning how to support their children’s reading.
  • While student achievement data was not available in 2017, in 2016 we found 78% of students maintaining or increasing their reading level from spring to fall.

“The findings from the second year of research on Make Summer Count are powerful in confirming the value of continually investing in resources to support summer learning,” said Dr. Andrea A. Rizzo, Director of Research & Validation, Scholastic Education. “The great work that Public Education Partners and Greenville County Schools is doing to enrich summer literacy experiences has gone a long way in preventing the common loss of literacy skills that many students experience over the summer months and to engage families. We hope that successful and sustainable initiatives such as Make Summer Count will continue to serve as a model for districts nationwide in their missions to help students succeed in literacy year-round and be an inspiration for community partnerships.”

“Ensuring high-interest books are in every child’s home and promoting family literacy are valuable goals,” said Dr. Ansel Sanders, PEP’s President and CEO. “To develop, implement, and scale intentional programming to meet these goals, coupled with a sound research study to evaluate the programming’s impact, is what makes Make Summer Count unique.”

Since MSC began in 2011 at Monaview Elementary as the Early Grades Reading Initiative, PEP has provided Greenville children with almost 850,000 books, a number that will cross 1 million this year.

“While there are far too many to name here, we thank our partners for their investment of time, expertise, and funding to position Make Summer Count for the measurable, national model it has become,” said Sanders. “Now with two consecutive years of research and positive results, we know Make Summer Count works.”