MDE launches statewide reading program with famous Pine Belt natives

MDE launches statewide reading program with famous Pine Belt natives
Mississippi Reads One Book is designed to strengthen the connection between home and school

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Schools in the Pine Belt area will be participating with other schools around the state to kick off the inaugural year of the Mississippi Reads One Book program.

The program is supported by Read to Them, a national non-profit organization from Richmond, V.A. that aims to create a culture of literacy in every home and have reached 2 million families in 3,000 schools in 49 states, along with launching successful state reading programs in Texas, Arkansas, and Virginia – and now Mississippi.

Mississippi Reads One Book is designed to try to strengthen the connection between home and school by having elementary students, families, and schools all read one common novel together, and this year’s title is “The World According to Humphrey” by Betty G. Birney.

Families would read the novel at home by following a reading schedule, and students will dive more into the novel at school with questions, assemblies, and creative activities. School districts and communities can choose to participate and purchase the books for students, as well as assign what grades can participate.

Angela Rutherford, the director of Mississippi’s campaign, said the mission is to ensure that all students read on grade level by the end of third grade.

“The Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s mission is to ensure that ALL students read on grade level by the end of third grade. We know that engaged families help to support that mission, we felt that Mississippi Reads One Book was a fantastic opportunity to encouraged families to read together.”

The schools that choose to join the literacy campaign will be treated to two video chapter readings from the novel by special guest and will be available to Mississippi families and schools during the 2019-2020 school year.

Rutherford announced that the two videos will be done by famous Pine Belt natives, Ben and Erin Napier from HGTV’s Home Town, and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre.

“We are very grateful to our guest readers, Brett Favre and Ben and Erin Napier. Their commitment to Mississippi Families and this project is much appreciated,” said Rutherford.

Read to Them Director Bruce Coffey said that the secret to family literacy is to create a symbiosis between home and school.

“The secret sauce of family literacy is to create a symbiosis between home and school,” said Coffey. “When student see their books being read and shared and discussed at home and school, they are surrounded by the culture of literacy.”

For more information about the statewide initiative, you can visit here.

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