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Parents Inspiring Parents to Encourage the Culture of Reading

Parents for Public Schools of Jackson joined forces with other partners of the Jackson Public School District, One Jackson, Many Readers collaboration to host two amazing Summer Reading Program Parent Orientations on May 31st and June 14th in the MetroCenter Mall. Over 200 elementary, middle and high school parents attended sessions to learn various techniques to support our JPS scholars with reading/ writing strategies and resources throughout the summer.

The overall goal of these Parent Orientations was to provide parents with information and strategies to encourage a culture of reading with their children throughout the summer and beyond. Each orientation began with an overview of the One Jackson, Many Readers program, followed by grade levels breakout sessions. The elementary session focused on providing parents with strategies to ensure their children comprehend what they are reading. Parents created their own material to demonstrate the “seven best habits of children while reading.” The middle school session’s focus was to provide parents with interactive strategies to engage middle school students in reading. The high school session provided information and resources to parents regarding essential literacy skills students need to be prepared for and successful in college. Sessions were also available for English Language Learners and Exceptional Educational Services. At the conclusion of each session, each parent and student received several books of their choosing.

Parents were excited about engaging in fun, informative activities aimed to help them to assist our children increase reading and writing proficiency across the district!Marcia Kelly says she has posted the 30-day reading activities calendar for middle school students on the refrigerator. “This event was well organized, and involved everyone there with practical ideas on how to keep our kids reading; I really enjoyed it, and so did my children!” Other attendees shared. . . “Thanks for taking the time to meet with parents on a weekend to inform us and to keep connected with our children; great job!” and “This seminar was very enlightening and I will use the information to help my children understand the books that they are reading.”

In addition to parents, over 150 children participated in literacy-based activities hosted by One Jackson, Many Readers committee partners Jackson Zoological Park, Mississippi Children’s Museum, Jackson Hinds Library System and Jumpin’ Jax Party Bounce House. MetroCenter Mall and Senator Sollie Norwood donated the meeting space and Mississippi Public Broadcasting, LeFleur’s Bluff Chapter of the Links, Inc. and Jackson Hinds Library System provided hundreds of books to foster a culture of reading for our children this summer including donations of the K-12 required reading books.

Research shows that students who read throughout the summer continue to grow academically. Those who do not read can lose up to three months of academic growth. Jackson Public Schools requires each student to read a minimum of three books, with one required title. To foster reading during the summer months, multiple community partners created One Jackson…Many Readers with the following goals:

  • Engage 30,000 readers with 100,000 books
  • Create a culture of reading across the City of Jackson
  • Bring students back to school in August with academic gains

The One Jackson, Many Readers collaboration, under the leadership of Jeanette Whisenton, Head Librarian for Jackson Public Schools has established various incentives to encourage more extensive reading including a city-wide celebration to recognize the highest readers among elementary, middle and high schools students.PPS Jackson staff and PLI graduates have participated in this collaboration since its inception in 2010. Their involvement has included attending weekly programmatic planning meetings over several months each school year, volunteering at various committee events- i.e. press conference to kick-off summer reading, celebration events to recognize top readers, and hosting Parent Orientations.