Read Across Mississippi Campaign

Newton, Miss. Two local schools welcomed a special visitor today. As part of her 'Read Across Mississippi Campaign,' First Lady Deborah Bryant visited Clarkdale and Newton Elementary schools Wednesday. This is part of her year-long, statewide campaign to emphasize the importance of reading.

Faculty, staff and students at both schools welcomed Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant with open arms Wednesday morning.
The name of the book that she read at Newton Elementary was "The Fib: A Wordy Tale,' by Mississippi author, Bill Wilson from Jackson. Although the primary purpose for the visit was to read, the First Lady did much more.

"She hugged about 420 students, and they loved that," says Newton Elementary Principal Dean Reid. "That made a big impression on their lives."

Mrs. Bryant left the book, which she read at Newton Elementary, at the school. It was not only autographed by the governor and first lady, but also contained a lot of challenging words. According to Mrs. Bryant, that's part of the reason that she chose it.

"You need to push children," says Bryant.

It's important that we find out early if these children are dyslexic because if we don't, these children are going to get frustrated. They're going to get angry and feel dumb, and they're going to drop out of the 9th grade. I think that's very sad. I think every child deserves to be the best that they can be."

Sharing with the group that Governor Bryant suffers from dyslexia, Mrs. Bryant stressed to the students that no matter what, if they work hard, anything is possible.

Counting Wednesday's visits in East Mississippi, Mrs. Bryant has made 31 stops so far as part of her statewide campaign.

Currently, Mississippi ranks number one in the nation in terms of students who cannot ready by the third grade.