Reading Mates Reading Mates


Alignment Jackson Elementary Committee

Reading Mates


Committee Vision:  All students are empowered and equipped to succeed because they can read, write, problem solve and think critically on grade level.

Description: Sociologist Donald Hernandez found that children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers. Research further indicates that Black and Hispanic children who are not reading proficiently in third grade are twice as likely as similar white children not to graduate from high school (about 25 vs. 13 percent).

Moreover, a study of 1,500 children found that, while children from wealthier families may not be genetically “smarter” than children from poorer families, they have more opportunities to reach their potential — and the differences in cognitive development that stem from socioeconomic disparities begin to appear very early in a child’s life. In 2012, Donald Hernandez reported that “living in a high-poverty neighborhood exacerbates the effects of poor reading skills and family poverty.” Further, research indicates, “more than one-third of children who can’t read, are poor and live in a poor neighborhood fail to finish high school. Even being a good reader cannot fully compensate for the risk that comes from living in a high-poverty neighborhood: 14 percent of good readers from high-poverty communities fail to graduate, compared to only 2 to 4 percent of good readers from affluent or middle-income neighborhoods.”

While these trends reinforce both the challenge and necessity for children to possess exemplary literacy skills, our power resides in that we control what happens when we come together as a community and work collaboratively. Accordingly, the Alignment Jackson Elementary Team invites you to build on the success of our Reading Mates initiative. Reading Mates is a targeted intervention designed to allow community partners to work with school representatives to help third graders build their literacy and technology skills and remove health and other barriers that adversely impact their growth and development. 

Last year, Reading Mates proved to be a game changer for the students and schools and 96% of participants passed Mississippi’s inaugural 3rd Grade Literacy Promotion Act Assessment. Reading Mates impact factors include (1) number of reading mates at each school; (2) personalized plan for each student; (3) consistency of sessions (time on task); (4) school level facilitator; (5) quality of reading mate; (6) health screenings; and (7) relationship between student and reading mate. This year Reading Mates will target eight schools - Baker, Dawson, George, Watkins, Johnson, McLeod, Poindexter, and Sykes Elementary Schools.

The Alignment Elementary Team cordially invites you to submit an Invitation To ParticipateTM response to support the Reading Mates initiative.


What Do We Want To Do?


  • Literacy training for volunteers
  • Community meetings on the topic of literacy to inform potential community partners

Short-Term Outcomes:

  • Increase 3rd graders’ interest and confidence in reading
  • At least 80% of 3rd graders improve literacy skills

Mid-Term Outcomes:

  • Increase 3rd graders achievement in literacy as measured by performance on STAR assessments and the 3rd Grade Literacy Promotion Exam
  • Increase number of proficient and advanced 3rd graders in reading as measured by MCT3 and PARCC/ELA
  • Implement at least 1 community supported program for literacy, technology and health at each school through existing and new community and district initiatives

Long-Term Outcomes:

  • Increased high school graduation rates
  • Increase college and career readiness


Target Population:  3rd grade students at Baker, Dawson, George, Johnson, Poindexter, and Sykes, and Watkins Elementary Schools and their families


Services Needed From the Community:

  • Reading Mate volunteers
  • Health Screenings (vision, hearing, hygiene, etc.)
  • Opportunities that teach/promote technology (e.g., keyboarding skills)
  • Opportunities that teach/promote stress management (e.g. yoga, pilates, tai chi, etc.)
  • Opportunities that promote family literacy activities/events
  • Library card registration drives
  • Tutors
  • Other relevant resources and services


ITP Community Meeting Date: 

Thursday, November 12, 2015, 6:00 pm

JPSD Board Room


Release Date: November 5, 2015

Deadline for Responses: December 7, 2015 - Deadline extended


If you have any questions about this Invitation To Participate or the ITPTM proposal process, please email or contact Anthony Johnson, Executive Director, Alignment Jackson, or (601) 965-1353.



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