Reading the Future: The Post-COVID Education Enhancement Program
In 2021, United Way of West Central Mississippi launched the Post-COVID Educational Enhancement Program, an innovative literacy intervention program designed to help K-3 students develop crucial reading skills. The program offers students high-dosage, small-group tutoring from trained instructors at childcare centers and after-school programs throughout the community and is funded through partnerships with the City of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the Warren County Board of Supervisors, and Cadence Bank (formerly BancorpSouth).
The program further fosters reading skills by encouraging students to read at home through a personal library program. Each week, participants are given books chosen for them based on their age, reading level and interests each week. Funding from Coaching for Literacy empowered United Way of West Central Mississippi to purchase 2,258 books for budding scholars.
The Post-COVID Educational Enhancement Program was an immediate success, with 148 students gaining an average of 11 months of reading skills over the course of the 2021-2022 school year.