According to the U.S. Department of Education, over 400,000 adults in Mississippi do not have their high school diploma. It is unknown how many of those also don't know how to read.
David Morgan is with the Mississippi Humanities Council. He says adults are learning to read, along with their children, through the organization's Family Literacy Program - which encourages parents to read more.
"You can see the gratification. They'll volunteer to read the books when the story teller is presenting them. They and the children, more or less, reinforce each other," says Morgan.
Cindy Heimbach is the Director of Grenada's Adult Basic Education Program. She says the most difficult step for some is admitting they need help.
"If they can just get in the front door and find a place that is welcoming, and will help them with what they're struggling with, they'll make it," Heimbach says.
Heimbach says most students enter the program with a 5th grade reading level.
Sandy Crist of the Mississippi Community College Board says this can be emotional for adult students who are struggling to read.
"Their kind of lost in the system of - 'Where do I start?', 'Where do I go?'- and then there's that element of shame or guilt. Not feeling like they were good enough to achieve that credential from the start, and it's veryhard to go back and start over," Crist says.
Last year, the Community College Board's Adult Education Programs served over 17,000 people across the state - about 1300 of them received their GED. The Community College Board offers 28 Adult Basic Education Programs statewide. All programs are free.