The state of Mississippi joining a national campaign to help more young students read on grade level by the end of third grade. MPB's Mark Rigsby reports.
The "Campaign for Grade-Level Reading" brings communities together to create reading partnership programs with schools. Mississippi will be one of more than two dozen states participating. Campaign Director Ashley Sheils.
"I'm incredibly excited. I think this is such a great opportunity for Mississippi to be a part of a network, a national network, that provides resources, that gives the support we need. But also that lends us an opportunity to shine spotlights on the great work that's happening in our state."
State lawmakers passed the Literacy-Based Promotion Act in 2013. It says a student must test above the lowest achievement level in reading to be promoted to the 4th grade. Approximately 3,000 students did not pass last year. Sheils says low-income students will be a priority.
"We know that those families need those resources, and want to be good stewards for those resources. So helping them build capacity and do more to use those that will be beneficial for children."
Kim Benton is Chief Academic Officer at the Mississippi Department of Education.
"We've started that movement around making early learning a priority, and we're seeing those outcomes. We have 92% of our third graders for the past two years that have met that promotion benchmark."
Blueprint programs are already running in Oxford and Gulfport. Sheils hopes to have ten additional programs by the end of next year.