By Alyssa Schnugg
Beginning next week, pre-K through third-grade students in the Oxford and Lafayette County school districts, Mary Cathey Head Start and Willie Price Lab School will join other students around Mississippi to read the same book at the same time for the next four weeks.
Children will receive a copy of “Fenway and Hattie” by Victoria J. Coe on Oct. 19 as part of the Mississippi Reads One Book initiative.
“We have selected a title that can be followed and understood and enjoyed by younger students, but will still captivate and stimulate older children,” said Tamara Hillmer, director of Early Childhood and Reading Development for Oxford and Lafayette County.
When the book comes home, parents are asked to follow the reading schedule outlined on the calendar.
Parents/guardians are asked to read a chapter a night – that’s about 15-20 minutes per night. At school, trivia questions will be asked, and students will complete fun activities and chapter discussions.
Parents can also access family engagement sheets for each chapter, as well as supplemental activities to do at home at www.loureads.org.
“Reading aloud at home is valuable because it better prepares your child to be an effective reader, and it is also a fun, worthwhile family activity,” Hillmer said. “With this program, we aim to build a community of readers. Everyone – students, parents, teachers, even administrative staff – will all be following along together.”
Mississippi Reads One Book is a family engagement program offered by Read to Them, in partnership with the Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Locally, the program is sponsored by L.O.U. Reads under Hillmer’s direction.
“Reading professionals recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s own reading level,” Hillmer said. “We also believe that you can and should continue reading chapter books with your older children, even when they are able to read by themselves.”
For more information on the MS Reads One Book program, visit readtothem.org/mississippi.