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Project Read

Project Read Pix.jpgProject Read is an initiative of the City of Jackson designed to support school success for children through early reading and writing skills. The project was launched in the city’s three child care facilities in January, using a curriculum geared toward Pre-K students. The goal is to ensure these children are reading by the time they enter kindergarten.

There are multiple benefits for children who learn to read early, including an expanded vocabulary, longer attention spans, improved retention of information, and enhanced memory and higher levels of concentration.

The state of Mississippi has passed a law dubbed, the “Third Grade Gate” literacy measure, which requires all third-grade students to read on grade level before they are promoted to fourth grade. To produce proficient third-grade readers, the work must start with literacy fundamentals before they even enter kindergarten. 

“We want to teach our students with the idea in mind that literacy is not simply being able to recite a series of words, so we are intentional in teaching communication through activities that connect them to the world around them through Project Read.” ~ Tony T. Yarber   Mayor, City of Jackson.

In 2014, Mayor Yarber charged the Early Childhood Division of the Department of Human and Cultural Services to revamp its literacy program to support early readers. The ECD partnered with Jackson Public Schools, Jackson State University, the Mississippi Department of Education and several community preschool educational programs.

The Project Read program officially began in January 2015 at Jones Early Childhood Development Center, located at 2050 Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive; Virden Early Childhood Development Center, located at 3159 Edwards Avenue, and Westside Early Childhood Development Center, located at 1450 Wiggins Road.

Strong Early Results

The 4- and 5-year-olds in the program were given a pre-assessment and a post-assessment with an emphasis language development. The pre-test had five sections: reading comprehension, sentence dictation, sound and symbol decoding, spelling and reading capability. Each facility showed marked improvement on the post-test.

The Jones facility pre-test was slightly higher than 20 percent and results on the post-test increased to 75 percent; the Westside facility’s pre-test results were at 15 percent and increased to slightly more than 60 percent on the post-test. At Virden,  students initially scored 15 percent, but improved to more than 40 percent.

To enroll your child in the program, contact the following centers:

  • Jones ECD, 601-960-1997
  • Westside ECD, 601-960-2400