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The L.O.U. Reads Coalition keeps kids reading this summer

With local schools now out for vacation, children all over Lafayette County are excited for summer’s special joys: days at the pool, fun with friends, barbeques with family and ice cream cones to top it off. Even while having a much-deserved break from the classroom, it is important for children to continue developing their literacy skills through rich conversations with friends and family, reading books and being read to, and — especially for those in need of extra support — practicing explicit literacy strategies.

The L.O.U. Reads Coalition, co-convened by United Way of Oxford & Lafayette County, the Lafayette County Literacy Council, the Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction,  and the McLean Institute for Public Service & Community Engagement, is therefore leading many efforts to keep children reading daily.

This summer, two L.O.U. Reads programs are providing young children and their families with take-home kits to support reading in the home. The Read For Success program, which was developed by the national non-profit Reading is Fundamental, is providing almost 180 rising first graders who are at risk of summer learning loss with a set of eight books, as well as helpful tips and other materials to support families in promoting literacy over the summer.

Funded by both a matching grant and federal dollars, Read For Success is a partnership between L.O.U. Reads and Bramlett Elementary School.

Also this summer, rising first, second, and third graders who participate in the Boys & Girls Club and Leap Frog programs are receiving summer toolkits, including carefully selected high-quality resources. Any family that hasn’t yet picked up its toolkit can do so at the Lafayette County & Oxford Public Library on Bramlett Boulevard.

To help local families build their children’s book collections, L.O.U. Reads will again be distributing free books once a week at the Summer Feeding Program held at Oxford Intermediate School. These books have been collected through a spring L.O.U. Reads book drive and fundraiser led by Lamda Sigma. Distribution will be held on Tuesdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in conjunction with the free meal program, under the leadership of volunteers and staff working with United Way and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.

The Little Free Library at Avent Park is another way for families to bring new books into their homes, though the L.O.U. Reads Coalition hopes that they will bring them back and/or donate others to the library.