It can be hard to imagine that illiteracy is a significant problem in Oxford and Lafayette County. Most people who live in this community — known for its university, strong public schools and relative wealth — are surprised to learn that literacy rates in Lafayette County estimate 20-25% of Lafayette County adults can’t read well enough to fill out a job application. Our kids don’t fare much better. According to the Mississippi Department of Education, 29% of third graders and 35% of fourth graders in our local public schools were not reading proficiently in 2012-2013.
Why should you care? Because literacy is essential to the social, economic and cultural quality of life of everyone who lives in Lafayette County. Every study shows that literacy breaks the cycle of poverty, strengthens families and relationships, promotes self-esteem, and broadens perspectives of the world. Every study shows that communities with lower literacy rates struggle with higher levels of poverty, crime, teenage pregnancy, and more. They also struggle to invest in their schools and attract good jobs and people to fill them. So every time we help one adult learn to read or help a child not fall further behind – we are helping make the Lafayette County a community that people WANT to live in – good jobs, good schools, and a good quality of life.
Our mission is to build partnerships and provide programs that promote literacy and a love of reading in all segments of the community. The Council’s four priorities are to: 1.) provide professionally developed and administered literacy education; 2.) promote a love of reading to children and families; 3.) serve as a literacy resource and information clearinghouse for the community; and 4.) become an excellent organization with which to work and volunteer.
We are proud of the programs we’ve built in recent years, and of the partnerships and volunteers that have made these possible. I hope you’ll join us. Every contribution supports our programs in basic literacy and promoting a love of reading.
Be sure to visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@LCLitCouncil) to learn more about our programs and how you can help! Thank you for your continued support of literacy in the LOU community.