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Read to Them partners with local schools for Mississippi Reads One Book

The current school year got off to a very nontraditional start with virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organization Read to Them and area schools have partnered  to provide a community building literacy experience despite the challenges.

Mississippi Reads One Book began on Monday with elementary students in the L.O.U. Community taking part in school and community events virtually. Each student will receive a copy of Victoria Coe’s book “Fenway and Hattie,” which is a children’s book series that centers around Fenway, an energetic Jack Russell terrier, and his adventures in the city.

“These are anxious times. Faced with the challenges of distance learning, we want to assist in encouraging families to continue making reading at home a priority,” said Tamara Hilmer, director of Early Childhood & Reading Development and L.O.U Reads. “Mississippi Reads One Book makes it fun.”

Every night of the week, Oxford and Lafayette students will read a chapter of the book with their parents. It will be the same chapter that other students across Mississippi will be reading as well.

Read to Them is a Richmond, Va. based non-profit promoting family literacy, with programs that have reached over two million families and over 3,000 schools across the country.

“Our reading schedule will take about 15 minutes each night, putting the entire community literally on the same page,” said Christa Donohue, Read to Them executive director. “Their reading will be augmented with virtual classroom activities, author interactions, trivia contests, prizes and fun opportunities for family engagement.”

On Jan. 10 of this year, elementary students in the LOU read Betty G. Birney’s “The World According to Humphrey” as part of a previous Mississippi Reads One Book program.