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Some Schools Receive Summer Reading Grants

Some Schools Receive Summer Reading Grants
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(File) Small child spends time reading

Some children in Mississippi struggling with their reading will have additional resources to help them over the summer. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports on twenty four schools in the state awarded grants to hold summer reading camps.

Some students in Mississippi will be spending part of their summer working on their literacy skills. Lisa Shelly is principal at Northeast Elementary School in Meridian. The school is one of 24 selected by the Mississippi Department of Education to receive a grant to support children who are having trouble reading. Shelly says the grant is giving the school an opportunity to help students improve their skills over the summer as they prepare to enter the next grade.

"We were able to expand what our district has done in the past to address the student needs especially those who had not yet passed the third grade reading test," said Shelly. "And so with this grant, we were able to address the needs of those students as well as additional students."

Earlier this year, a quarter of Mississippi third graders failed a reading test required for promotion to the fourth grade. Principal Shelly says after the first retake, 90 percent of her third graders met the requirements. There's still one more retake to go.

Reading is an adventure that you create says Susan Liles. She is public relations director for the Mississippi Library Commission. Liles says there are ways parents can help children with their reading skills.

"Sit down as a family and read or listen to a book on tape," said Liles. "And talk about how each person interprets the story and make it like an adventure."

The summer reading grants, which are about $3 million total, will be dispersed over the next three years.