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Area schools to participate in Mississippi Reads One Book program

Students in both the Oxford and Lafayette School Districts will participate in a special program this spring.

Beginning on Jan. 10, Pre-K through third grade students will begin Mississippi Reads One Book, where every family will receive a copy of Betty G. Birney’s “The World According to Humphrey” and the students will be asked to read the book aloud. Mississippi Reads One Book is a program in which children at different grade levels will all be listening to the same book simultaneously.

Families will follow a calendar that is provided by the program, which is sponsored by L.O.U. Reads under the direction of Tamara Hillmer, the director of early childhood and reading development.

“Reading aloud at home is valuable because it better prepares children to be an effective reader,” Hillmer said. “But it is also a fun, worthwhile family activity. With the Mississippi Reads One Book program, we aim to build a community of readers.”

Hillmer noted students, parents, teachers and administrative staff at all participating schools will be reading the book. Parents are asked to read a chapter a night, which averages out to 15 to 20 minutes per night. At school the following day there will be trivia questions asked for the students to answer as well as activities and chapter discussions.

“Strange or daring as it may seem, it actually makes educational sense,” Hillmer said. “Reading professionals recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s own reading level. 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.”

The book was chosen because it can be understood and enjoyed by younger students and also still stimulate older readers, according to Hillmer.