Books on Break

Books on Break partners with schools to provide free books to students in Pre-K through 5th grade right before summer so that the joy of reading, the delight in book ownership, and the retention of literacy skills can be maintained at home 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 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.


District and School Partnerships

Book Harvest partners with districts and schools to provide books to students in Pre-K through 5th grade just before summer break. Choice and quantity are key, as students harvest books to to read over the summer and keep forever. They take their books home in special co-branded string backpacks filled with information for their families about summer learning.

Books on Break 2022 provided 70,315 books to 32 local elementary schools, ultimately sending books home with 14,360 students. All 30 elementary schools within Durham Public Schools participated, as did Hallsboro-Artesia Elementary School and East Arcadia Elementary School in Columbus and Bladen Counties, respectively.

Read the complete Books on Break 2022 Final Report here.

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.
  • Are you in North Carolina? Contact Rachel Stine at to explore partnership opportunities.