Bogue Chitto is tapped for state literacy program

Published 10:01am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This school year, the Mississippi Department of Education is implementing a pre-kindergarten-through-third grade literary initiative in 67 schools across the state, one of which is Bogue Chitto Attendance Center in the Lincoln County School District.

The initiative is part of the Mississippi Literacy-Based Promotion act that was passed in the 2013 legislative session that emphasizes early childhood literacy.

To help implement the legislation, the state has sent educators and coaches with an expertise in literacy to serve as literacy coaches in schools across Mississippi.

Richelle Ratcliff, in charge of curriculum and testing for the Lincoln County School District, said that this will be the second year for Bogue Chitto to be assigned a literacy coach. She said the school saw significant improvement in literacy proficiency last academic year.

The coaches are assigned to schools that have a significant number of third graders who score below sufficient in literacy over a two-year period on the Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition.

“We are looking forward to another year with a coach,” said Ratcliff. She added that the coaches are in the schools to support the teachers to help the students achieve proficiency in reading from kindergarten to third grade.

“The ability to read is a gateway to success in academics and life,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education in a press release announcing the initiative. “The statewide focus on early literacy – from pre-K through the third grade – will help Mississippi children build the foundational skills they will need throughout their education,” she said.

“In third grade, students begin to make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn,” said Kymyona Burk, K-3 Literacy coordinator in the press release. “Students need strong reading skills in order to learn other school subjects, such as science, history, writing and even math.”

The legislation is proposed to help children develop reading skills through prevention and intervention techniques. The MDE will identify early reading problems through teacher administered literacy assessments in kindergarten through third grade at the beginning and end of each school year.

If a student is identified as needing help, they will be provided with intensive reading instruction and their parents will be given tips to help the child at home. Students who are not reading on grade level by third grade and do not qualify for a Good Cause Exemption will not will not advance to the fourth.

Good Cause Exemption is applied for by the teacher and discussed with the principal and parent to decide based on the student’s records, the recommendation is then send to the district superintendent.

Family support also will be a key to the program, said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Nothing is more important for children’s literacy development than the support they receive from their families. Parents and guardians are children’s first and most important teachers.”

To learn more about the Mississippi Literacy-Based Promotion Act, visit