Students in Greenville County Schools now have access to 180,000 books to enjoy this summer.
It’s all thanks to a program sponsored by a local non-profit, Public Education Partners or PEP.
For the past two weeks, PEP has been giving out books at 29 elementary schools in the district as part of their “Make Summer Count” program. Friday was the last day.
“It’s aimed at insuring that students have home libraries,” Angel Williams with Public Education Partners said. “They have books that are theirs.”
The program gives 10 books each to more than 18,000 students grade K-5.
“It’s a measure of need, so these are students who may not be able to get books otherwise,” Williams said.
Williams says studies show that if students do not read over the summer they are more likely to fall behind the next school year.
Students are able to go online and pick the exact books they want want to read. The books are packaged in their own personal backpacks and given out at the schools at the end of the school year.
A.J. Whittenberg made a celebration out of their book giveaway day on Friday. They even invited parents to join in on the fun.
“It’s very important because it keeps their brain going, it helps their education, and they don’t lose that valuable information throughout the summer,” A.J. Whittenberg parent, Antonia Weir said.
Williams says the $500,000 program exists because of community and private donations.
“This is Greenville grown, and Greenville bred,” Williams said. “It’s something that the community has invested in because they saw a need. We don’t want students to fail.”
Over the summer, PEP also hosts a family read night to encourage parents to engage with their students and promote literacy at home.