Tool Available to Help Children Find Great Books to Read this Summer

The Mississippi Department of Education, through the Office of Elementary Education and Reading, would like to encourage parents to use the “Find a Book, Mississippi” search tool to support summer reading. It is a fun and easy way to build custom reading lists based on students’ interests and the reading Lexile measure.  “Find a Book, Mississippi” is a free tool for parents and students and includes access to certificates for reaching a summer reading goal! Download the Find a Book, Mississippi flyer...

Summer Camp Boosts Reading Skills

  By Chris Kieffer Daily Journal TUPELO – Tupelo elementary school students who are struggling with reading skills are getting extra help this summer from a church-based program. This is the fourth year The Orchard has hosted SummerSALT, a summer-reading program that serves nearly 115 students, ranging from those who are entering kindergarten through those entering third grade. The acronym SALT is for studying and learning together. “We are being proactive,” said Merissa Rambo, missions director at The Orchard, noting that community supporters made the program possible. “We looked around, and we live in Mississippi, which ranks at the bottom of the country in literacy. We need to do something about it, so what can we do?” Students who need extra help in reading are referred to the free program by teachers, principals and others in the Tupelo School District, as well as by four local daycares. Each classroom has a certified teacher, assistant teacher, volunteer helper and no more than 12 students, ensuring small-group instruction. “I love it because it is a concentrated time to focus on reading skills,” said Carver Elementary first-grade teacher Anita McGraw, who is one of the program’s 10 teachers. “Everything is so well organized so when we get in there with the kids, we can focus on teaching them.” The program uses contributions from local businesses to hire the teachers and assistant teachers to work with the students. The plan is to counter the summer slide, the idea that students forget during the long summer break some of the skills they learned and then begin the new school year behind where they ended...

Worried about kids and summer reading? Three Experts are here to help.

A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old son said to me matter-of-factly, “Mom, if you need me, I’ll just be in my closet.” I was thrilled. Because in his closet he has set up a little nest of sorts. A sleeping bag squished into a small space on the floor, two flashlights sitting on the shelf and, most exciting for me, a book or two tucked in there among his shoes. This is his hideaway reading spot, and since he’s a kid who is more interested in throwing a baseball in the front yard for hours than tucking in with a good story, it makes me think that perhaps this reading thing might catch on after all. That said, summer is here. And that little dark closet might be a tough sell for a boy who will be tempted by sprinklers and ballgames, swimming pools and bikes. Oh, I want summer to be filled with those things and more. But with school out of session, that means no silent reading in a classroom every day or book reports and library time built into the schedule. How do we encourage our kids to keep up with their reading over the summer when it’s not part of the curriculum? For some, that’s easy, and in fact they might have to be shooed out of the house and away from the books to get a little fresh air. But for others, it can be more of a challenge. Read on for a few tips and suggested reads from the people who get it: a children’s author, a middle school librarian and the book...

School- and District-Level 3rd Grade Reading Test Results Available for First Retest

JACKSON, Miss. – Cumulative school- and district-level passing rates for the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment are now available to the public. Passing rates can be found here. Statewide, an estimate of 91 percent of 3rd graders have achieved a passing score on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment. The passing rate incorporates the results of the first test administration in April and the first retest in May. The statewide passing rate for the April test was 85 percent. Students need to score at least 926 on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment to be eligible for promotion to the 4th grade. The number of students who have not passed the test is currently 3,415. These students will be given a second retest opportunity during the assessment window of June 29 through August 7, 2015. Local school districts will determine which of their students who did not pass qualify for one of the good cause exemptions for promotion to 4th grade. Mississippi’s Literacy-Based Promotion Act requires that a student scoring at the lowest achievement level on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment be retained in 3rd grade, unless the student meets the good cause exemptions specified in the law. This school year is the first year that a reading test is required for 3rd graders to be promoted to 4th grade. For information about summer reading programs, contact local school districts. For more information about the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, visit www.mde.k12.ms.us/literacy. Resources: LBPA Next Steps Parent Guide to Understanding 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment Score Report Strong Readers=Strong Leaders...