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MDE promotes parent involvement

Kindergarten through third-grade students who struggle with reading may be held back in school if they do not pass a literacy test this spring.

Statewide efforts from the Mississippi Department of Education are trying to bridge the gap by encouraging parents to be involved with school assignments and reading for 20 minutes a day with their child. Those efforts include hosting literacy improvement meetings across the state before the first test. Thursday night, about 30 parents, teachers and administrators gathered at the Oxford Conference Center to learn about MDE’s parent literacy program.

“Buy books they’re interested in, even if they’re silly,” MDE regional literacy coordinator Lori Stringer said.

Stringer said reading and taking the time to interact with children can improve phonetic understanding, vocabulary and interest in reading.

Leaders reminded parents they are being notified monthly if their child is not meeting reading stan- dards in school.

Test time

Third-grade students have three chances to pass the summative reading assessment with a third-grade read- ing level to continue to the fourth grade this semester, unless the student qualifies for an exemption under the Literacy Based Promotion Act.

The exemptions include, but are not limited to, having two years of documented remedial instruction. Initial test dates will be no later than April 15, May 20 and Aug. 5 this year. The test will be online with three practice questions and 50 multiple-choice literacy-based questions. The test questions adapt to harder and easier questions based on individual students, but will not ask below a second-grade level question.