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3/1/2011 - Jackson, Miss.

America Reads-Mississippi (ARM) will promote literacy with reading celebrations across the state of Mississippi as part of Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss' Birthday).

ARM members at 82 school sites in Mississippi will recruit public officials, retired teachers and librarians, community leaders, youth organizations, parents and others to read aloud to children and express the importance of reading. An array of activities has been planned at each ARM site to show students just how fun reading can be. According to the National Education Association (NEA), Read Across America sponsor, Read Across America Day is the nation's largest reading event.

"ARM members play a vital role with motivating and encouraging students to read," said Nikitna Barnes, ARM Special Projects Coordinator. "Teachers report seeing tremendous success from students that the ARM members tutor on the evaluations they provide to us."

ARM is an AmeriCorps program focused on improving reading skills of students, encouraging public awareness and support of literacy, and increasing the number of certified teachers in Mississippi.

There are currently 333 full-time members who serve in 82 school sites. ARM is made possible through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service and operates regionally through a partnership with six of Mississippi's public universities.

ARM oversight at the state level is a joint effort through the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service and the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). The IHL Board of Trustees, which governs public universities, is committed to helping ensure students are ready for college and teachers receive first-rate training at universities across the state.

For more information about America Reads-Mississippi, contact Nikitna Barnes at (601) 432-6110.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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