OXFORD, Miss. — Beginning in October, schools across Mississippi will participate in Mississippi Reads One Book, a family literacy program in which elementary students, families and schools all read one common novel together. This year’s title is The World According to Humphrey, by Betty G. Birney.
The program, which created by the national nonprofit Read to Them, is designed to strengthen the connection between home and school. Families read the novel at home, following a common reading schedule, and students celebrate and explore the novel at school with trivia questions, assemblies and creative extension activities.
The Mississippi Reads One Book program is supported by the Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which is supported by University of Mississippi’s Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction.
“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,” explained Angela Rutherford, director of the Campaign. “We know that engaged families help to support that mission, so we felt that Mississippi Reads One Book was a fantastic opportunity to encourage families to read together. This is our first year, but we plan to continue this fantastic family engagement project into the foreseeable future.”
Inaugural schools in Mississippi will be treated to two special chapter readings from The World According to Humphrey. Notable Mississippians will serve as guest readers during the campaign and read to children in Mississippi schools. Guest readers include: Brett Favre (Hall of Fame quarterback) and UM alumni Ben and Erin Napier (Home Town, HGTV).
“The guest readers’ commitment to Mississippi families and this project is much appreciated,” Rutherford said. “These video recordings will be available to Mississippi families and schools during the 2019-2020 school year.
“The secret sauce of family literacy is to create a symbiosis between home and school,” said Read to Them Director Bruce Coffey.
When students see their book being read and shared and discussed at home and school, they are surrounded by the culture of literacy.”
Read to Them’s family literacy programs have reached 2 million families in 3,000 schools in 49 states. Read to Them has launched successful state reading programs in Texas, Arkansas, and Virginia – and now Mississippi. A continually growing body of research demonstrates that children who are read to at home are better prepared to read, succeed in school, and graduate. www.readtothem.org
The mission of CELI and the UM School of Education is to provide exemplary instruction, relevant research and effective service through collaboration with schools, businesses, community organizations and the public at large. CELI is supported by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation.