Jackson Public Schools and United Way, Jackson Hinds Library Systems, City of Jackson, Lemuria Book Store, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, and JPS Curriculum, Media Relations, and Partners in Education departments
Duration of partnership: 3 years
Impacts 30,000 students
A few years ago, Jackson Public Schools recognized a need for intervention to increase the number of students completing required summer reading assignments. In 2010, more than 27,000 students out of the 30,600 student population did not read three books over the summer as required. To boost those numbers, the district and partners helped develop "One Jackson Many Readers," a comprehensive program to improve literacy by creating a climate that encourages students, their parents, and all residents to read more.
To launch the program, the district and its partners held a press conference at Eudora Welty Library, with Mayor Harvey Johnson's wife, Kathy Johnson, introduced as the summer reading ambassador. Parent training for the program was conducted at the JPS Parent Center. The United Way conducted a Pages of Promise book drive, and $15,000 in grants and donations were received for One Jackson Many Readers. The district revised summer reading requirements and materials, and offered prizes and incentives to students for achieving reading goals. Students were asked to keep reading logs and could record books online. Students also attended daily summer programs at selected metro libraries, and provider training was hosted by Mississippi Public Broadcasting. School competitions were held for the most books read, and students who achieved reading goals were treated to a visit to the Mississippi Children's Museum.
Results showed that One Jackson Many Readers made a measurable impact on summer reading. The number of books circulated during the summer program at libraries rose from around 46,000 to more than 76,000, and the number of elementary students meeting requirements doubled from 2,000 to over 4,000. Also, the number of secondary student summer readers rose from 200 to over 1,100. In 2010, students logged a total of 8,700 books. In 2012, that number skyrocketed to over 42,500. A total of 610 students achieved high-volume reading goals. Last year Jackson was included in 100 Best Communities for young people by the Council of Great City Schools, with credit given to the success of "One Jackson Many Readers."