Books on Break

Books on Break provides free books to children when they are out of school so that the joy of reading, the delight in book ownership, and the retention of literacy skills can be maintained throughout the year.


Book Choice, Book Quantity, Book Ownership

Launched in 2012, Books on Break is an evidence-informed program designed to combat learning loss by equipping elementary school students with books to read during school breaks and keep forever. The Books on Break model embodies three core values: choice, quantity, and book ownership.

Through Books on Break, children are encouraged to choose whichever books they'd like from Book Harvest's selection and keep the books forever. They are also encouraged to take several books, ensuring they have enough to accompany them through their school break.

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Public Schools

Book Harvest partners with schools to provide books to students just before summer break, traditionally through "free book fairs." These events are set up to enable students choose the books in which they are interested. Students take the books home to keep forever. These books help them retain their academic skills and return to school in the fall ready to learn.

In summer 2019, 16,978 students selected 86,495 books during Books on Break in Durham Public Schools, Chapel-Hill Carrboro City Schools, Orange County Schools, Bladen, and Columbus counties!

Books on Break 2021 provided 40,045 books to 23 Durham elementary schools, ultimately sending books home with 11,510 children.

Run Books on Break at Your School

  • Afterschool providers and educators: download the Books on Break toolkit so that you can launch your own summer book giving program.
  • Summer program providers: download the Summer Learning toolkit to help you keep your children learning all summer long, and listen to the webinar introducing and explaining the Summer Counts guide.
  • Read a complete report from summer 2019 here.

Thank you to our Books on Break funders: Duke Energy Foundation, Grable Foundation, Nora Roberts Foundation, Oak Foundation, United Way of the Greater Triangle, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Get Books!