Pascagoula-Gautier School District and Jerry Lee’s Grocery Store, Pascagoula Walmart, Kiwanis Club of Pascagoula, Gautier Rotary Club, local child care facilities and local businesses

Students impacted: 4,000
Volunteers: 176
Duration of partnership: 2 years

The Mississippi State Legislature passed the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, better known as the “Third Grade Reading Gate,” a test which all third grade students would be required to pass to be promoted to fourth grade. The Pascagoula- Gautier School District rolled out a campaign to ramp up the community’s literacy awareness to make reading a priority focus across the district, especially in PreK-3. 


  • Community awareness campaign - READ! READ! READ! yard signs and posters
  • High school and middle school students volunteered to read with third-graders
  • Student councils in grades 5-12 held book drives, collecting more than 2,500 books
  • Organized after-school tutoring for at-risk children
  • iReady reading curriculum added to enhance reading drills and skills
  • Testing Pep Rallies held before Reading Gate test
  • Book and dictionary donations by Kiwanis Club of Pascagoula, Gautier Rotary Club
  • Home visits to inform and engage parents of at-risk students
  • Little Libraries program - The school district vocation carpentry class constructed 12 small structures that were placed around town and loaded with books so children have access to books 24/7 even when school was not open.


  • Of 532 third graders taking inaugural Third Grade Reading Gate test, 95.7% passed
  • Pass rate increased to 99% on second try six weeks later
  • A total of 176 community citizens participated in the READ! READ! READ! program along with 153 middle and high school students