Our overarching goal is to increase the percentage of third graders who end the school year as proficient readers and, long-term, to ensure that all children are reading on grade-level. Our strategy for reaching this goal is multifaceted. Among other things, we seek to: improve in-school and out-of-school supports, including tutoring for struggling readers, and, ultimately, open a comprehensive wrap-around center eliminating barriers to children's development and promoting school success.
Current projects and initiatives include: Mississippi Reads One Book, The Literacy Bus, Little Free Libraries, and the Read Aloud 15 Minutes National Campaign.
Mississippi Reads One Book
Every year the L.O.U. community takes part in a unique statewide all-school book club called Mississippi Reads One Book. Each PreK- 3rd grade family within the Lafayette County School District, Oxford School District, Mary Cathey Head Start, and Willie Price Lab School receives a copy of the same book and is asked to read it together at home over a four-week program (Monday-Friday). Students take part in discussions and activities centered around the chapter read the prior night. Families are also given packets containing discussion questions, reading tips, and activities they can use at home with their child. In 2020, families read "Fenway & Hattie" by Victoria J. Coe.
Reading aloud at home is valuable because it better prepares children to become effective readers, and it is also a fun, worthwhile family activity. With this program, L.O.U. Reads aims to build a Community of Readers. Everyone – students, parents, teachers, even administrative staff – all follow the reading program together.
The Literacy Bus
For many children in the LOU community, there are a myriad of barriers limiting access to books—an issue that is often exasperated during extended periods of out-of-school time. In effort to get books in the hands of all children, promote literacy throughout the community, and generate greater equity in early learning, L.O.U. Reads has founded The Literacy Bus.
A repurposed school bus with a wondrous makeover, The Literacy Bus is a mobile library full of activities that makes appearances throughout the community. The bus never fails to excite those who attend a bus event; it also never fails to put a book in every child's hand! The bus has given out thousands of books over the years and has made stops at some of the L.O.U. community's biggest family events. During the Mississippi Family Crisis Center's Halloween SafeStop Spooktacular, L.O.U. Reads distributed books to over 500 children in just a single afternoon! Be sure to visit our events page to track the Literacy Bus' next appearance in the L.O.U. community.
Little Free Libraries
Little Free Library is a nonprofit that builds community, inspires readers, and expands book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led little libraries. Through Little Free Library book exchanges, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds. The more books in or near the home, the more likely a child will learn and love to read. But two out of three children living in poverty have no books to call their own.
There are currently eight Little Free Library chapters operated by L.O.U. Reads and its LFL partner, First Regional Library of Oxford-Lafayette, in the L.O.U. community. Both organizations work to ensure each site is stocked with new books, activities, and resources for families.
Visit https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/ for a map of Little Free Library locations.
Read Aloud 15 Minutes
L.O.U. Reads is a proud partner in the 15 Minutes National Campaign by Read Aloud. We are united behind the idea that 15 minutes of daily reading aloud from birth to age-8 can change the face of education in this country. As a partner we are committed to reaching out to all of our constituents in the community, including community groups, day care providers, schools, businesses, libraries, and faith-based organizations, to spread the word. The goal of the 15 Minutes National Campaign is to have every American child ready to read when entering kindergarten and continuing to build skills throughout early schools years.
The Read Aloud organization stresses this point: Reading aloud is the single most important activity parents can partake in to help prepare their child for reading and learning upon entering school.
If you are interested in learning more about the 15 Minutes National Campaign, please visit www.readaloud.org.