Collaboration Drives Books on Break

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By Isabel Geffner, Advancement Coordinator

This article originally ran in the Durham Herald-Sun.

Students in all Durham’s 30 elementary schools are heading home this summer with resources to preserve the gains they have made during the 2016-2017 school year.

Book Harvest collaborated with Durham Public Schools to provide books and summer learning resources through our Books on Break program.  In seven schools – Y.E. Smith, Eastway, C.C. Spaulding, Merrick-Moore, Glenn, Forest View, and Lakewood – every child receives a backpack with literacy tips and resources; students attend a special event to select 10 free books to take home to read over the summer and keep forever. Other schools receive books and a toolkit to run Books on Break events.

Forest View Elementary School ESL teacher Catriona Moore shares the boundless joy – and success – of Books on Break . “Books on Break prevents summer reading loss – it is that simple and that miraculous,” she said.

This book-based approach to summer learning loss is informed by rigorous research. According to Dr. Susan Neuman, at NYU, “If we can solve the problem of (book) access, we will be well on the road to realizing educational parity – a goal which has eluded this country for generations.”

Books on Break is reaching 9,763 students at 44 schools in Durham, Orange, Chatham, and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools this spring. The program is a community-wide collaboration of volunteers, parents, administrators, teachers, students, and philanthropists who share a commitment to ensuring that every child can preserve the academic gains from the year before.