Gov. Phil Bryant signed an executive order Wednesday establishing a task force that will aim to improve early childhood literacy in Mississippi public schools.

The committee was created as a result of a 2015 study, commissioned by the state Institutes for Higher Learning and the Barksdale Reading Institute, that focused on improving literacy of students in grades K-3.

The study, conducted over the course of more than a year, targeted specific areas of improvement. The three main recommendations from the study included “adopting research-based practices at every level of reading education, bringing consistency to early-literacy course content, and directly involving educators in shaping policy and practice.”

“The (task force) is created to recommend practical mechanisms and time frames for all personnel involved in preparing, teaching, coaching, or supervising K-3 instruction to have a working knowledge of the body of educational and cognitive science that supports best practice for early literacy instruction,” Bryant’s proclamation said.

The task force will include Mississippi teachers, an employee of the reading institute and employees of the IHL, Department of Education and the governor’s office. The committee will provide the governor with recommendations by Oct. 31, and those plans will be made public.

The Barksdale Reading Institute was founded by James Barksdale, who serves on the Mississippi Today board of directors. Donna Barksdale is the chairwoman of the Mississippi Today board.


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Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.

One reply on “Gov. Bryant zones in on early childhood literacy”

  1. Make literacy a top-five policy issue in our state and watch what happens to the quality of life here.

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