Summer Education in Mississippi

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

The school doors may be closed for the summer, but the doors to public libraries are open. That's just where education leaders like Trecina Green want Mississippi school kids to go.

"Literacy impacts every area of schooling," said Green.

Green is the associate superintendent of instructional enhancement at the Department of Education. She says summer break may be a break, but it's also a crucial time period for students, especially if they're not reading.

"Students can regress if they don't have reading experiences over the summer," said Green.

Green says reading levels have a tendency to fall, putting students two to three months behind when school starts again. To help combat that loss, summer reading programs are opening the pages for academic progress. Public libraries, like the one in Pearl, are helping to lead the way.

"You just want to promote and instill in them an excitement about reading," said Peal Library branch manager Mara Villa.

To make libraries more appealing to students Villa says you first have find out their interests.

"If they love cars, if they love wrestlers. There's books on everything," said Villa.

Currently, the Department of Education does not require summer reading. That decision is left up to local districts. Green says more and more of those districts are starting to put out a reading list to be used as extra credit the following year.

"Children are having to read texts that are more complex and so having those skills will be necessary," said Green.

"Learning is a life long process. It doesn't end after you end school," said Villa.

Working with school districts, libraries are stocking their shelves to make sure books are not only accessible, but also beneficial.

"Wherever you are, there's some library that's close to you that's going to offer something. If they don't, demand it because it is your library," said Villa.

To find out what reading programs are happening in your area, you can contact your nearest public library.

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