The Corinth School District welcomed the First Lady of Mississippi on Friday, August 29, to Corinth Elementary School. First Lady Deborah Bryant read to the third grade students as part of her "Read Across Mississippi" program. She chose a book entitled The Fib: A Wordy Tale by Mississippi author Bill Wilson and donated a signed copy of the book to the Corinth Elementary library.
With Early Childhood Education being a focal point of her platform, Mrs. Bryant decided to "Read Across Mississippi" in 2014. She has pledged to read to students in all 82 counties this year. To date, she has read to more than 50 counties. When asked why she started the "Read Across Mississippi" initiative, Mrs. Bryant explained that Mississippi has one of the highest percentages of students who cannot read by the end of the third grade. She hopes to help children develop the literacy skills they so desperately need by encouraging Mississippi children to read and by promoting the importance of reading in schools throughout the state.
"You cannot get through life without knowing how to read," said Mrs. Bryant. "Reading is fun! It's my most favorite thing to do. It can take you anywhere you want to go. Find something that you enjoy reading and read for fun!"
In addition to emphasizing the importance of reading, the First Lady spoke about several other issues that she believes are especially important for children. First, she spoke about dyslexia. She explained that her husband, Governor Phil Bryant, struggled with dyslexia as a child. "It's nothing to be ashamed of," said Mrs. Bryant. "Don't be discouraged if you have a problem like dyslexia. You may have to work harder, but you can still become anything you want to be. My husband had to repeat the third grade because of his struggle with dyslexia, but look at him--he became the governor!"
The First Lady also discussed the importance of exercising and healthy living, serving and helping others, participating in efforts for a good cause, and following the "Golden Rule" to treat others the way we want to be treated: "Respect each other and your teachers and your parents. Every one of you is special. Always look for the good in people," she advised.
According to her website, "Education is a primary issue of interest for First Lady Bryant, and she wants to help ensure that all Mississippi children get a comprehensive education that will prepare them to be successful adults. Mrs. Bryant enjoys visiting schools throughout the state and does so often, speaking to assemblies and meeting students individually. The specific initiatives she promotes are early childhood education, reading, self-esteem, and healthy lifestyles. Mrs. Bryant partnered with the Barbara Bush Foundation to sponsor a student art contest at the Mississippi Children's Museum. She continues to seek out opportunities to engage the children of Mississippi on an educational level."