Make Summer Count Press Conference 2017

New Research from Public Education Partners and Scholastic Confirms Positive Impact of Supporting Summer Reading for K–5 Students in Greenville County, SC

Results from Make Summer Count Program in Greenville County Elementary Schools Reveal that Students Benefit from Increased Access to Books and Opportunities for Summer Learning

Greenville, SC – April 20, 2017 – The nonprofit Public Education Partners (PEP) and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, today announced the results of a new research study examining the effects of Make Summer Count 2016, a reading initiative in Greenville County Schools (GCS) supporting summer learning for 18,000 students in grades K–5 across 29 higher- needs elementary schools. The research findings indicate that a majority of students maintained or increased their reading levels over the summer of 2016 and that the program had an overall positive impact on students’ reading habits and attitudes.

East North Street Academy Students, Parents, PEP and Scholastic staff
Click to view more pictures.

Make Summer Count is designed to combat summer loss of academic skills experienced by many students—responsible for as much as 85% of the reading achievement gap between lower- and higher- income children—by increasing access to books as well as engaging families to support their children’s learning. PEP and Scholastic provided participating Greenville County elementary school students with the opportunity to select 11 books of their choice to take home for summer reading. They also hosted 23 Family Reading Night events to foster family engagement.

The research was conducted by the Scholastic Research & Validation team, which distributed 20,000 pre- and post-surveys to students in grades 3–5 and 1,897 surveys to families. In addition, 18,300 book logs were distributed to students in grades 1–6 to track their summer reading. Key findings from the research study include:

The majority of students who participated in Make Summer Count did not experience the summer loss in literacy skills that is typically associated with students in higher-needs schools.
  • Seventy-eight percent of students in grades 3–5 maintained or increased their reading levels from spring to fall 2016.
Students read more books over the summer than the national average.
  • Students read an average of 14.7 books, compared to the national average of 12 books—a statistic reported in the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading ReportTM: 6thEdition.
Students reported a substantial increase in reading stamina and confidence.
  • The percentage of students who read for one hour or more without stopping grew from 13% to 26%.
  • Eighty-two percent of students agreed that they were better readers after the summer.
Families overwhelmingly found the Make Summer Count program to be valuable.
  • Ninety-nine percent of families agreed that the program contributed to their children reading more books over the summer.
  • Ninety-eight percent agreed that their children were better readers after the summer.
  • One hundred percent found Family Reading Nights valuable for learning about how to support their children’s reading.

To continue this positive work, PEP, GCS, and Scholastic have committed to implementing Make Summer Count for 2017. Elementary students will once again have the opportunity to select their own books to take home over the summer and families will be invited to numerous events in support of their child’s learning.

“Make Summer Count is a hallmark program for Public Education Partners and we are thrilled to once again partner with Greenville County Schools and Scholastic to help maintain reading gains over the summer for thousands of Greenville’s students,” said Dr. W. Ansel Sanders, President & CEO, Public Education Partners. “With these great results, Make Summer Count is now proof that through effective public-private partnership and research-based programming, we can combat summer reading loss and thus better set our students up for long-term success.”

“Initiated by Public Education Partners, Make Summer Count is a fantastic example of a program born out of a public-private partnership that, as evident by these results, is helping thousands of students maintain their reading levels over the summer months and keeping them on track for success,” said Dr. W. Burke Royster, Superintendent, Greenville County Schools. “Greenville County Schools is deeply appreciative of its over 30-year partnership with PEP and we look forward to continuing to partner on such efforts as Make Summer Count and others into the future.”

“For students to grow and become thriving readers, literacy must be a year-round priority, with sustainable summer reading programs in place to support student learning beyond the classroom,” said Michael Haggen, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic Education. “The promising results from the partnership between Scholastic and Public Education Partners in Greenville County Schools for Make Summer Count illustrate the crucial relationship between increased access to books and family engagement to stem summer reading loss. We look forward to our continued work in Greenville, gathering more research and providing students and families the books and resources they need to read all summer long.”

Methodology, In Brief:

The findings collected through PEP’s Make Summer Count initiative are based on approximately 18,000 K–5 students in Greenville County Schools. All data is from spring to fall 2016 and should be contextualized in the sense that there was not a comparison group of students; rather, this is an analysis of the unique results of all students participating in Make Summer Count. This research does not account for additional summer learning or enrichment opportunities that may have been sought out and participated in by some of these students and families. To learn more about the Make Summer Count 2016 research study, visit: http://edublog.scholastic.com.

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About Public Education Partners:

Public Education Partners (PEP) collaborates with community partners to introduce innovative programming in schools and deepen connections between schools and the community in an effort to strengthen public education and student achievement in Greenville, South Carolina. PEP is Greenville’s only independent nonprofit solely dedicated to investing in and improving public education. For more information, visit www.pepgc.org.

For more information about Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), visit the Company’s online media room at http://mediaroom.scholastic.com.


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