About the Gulfport Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

United Way of South Mississippi (UWSM) provides the leadership for the City of Gulfport to become not only the first city in the state to become a member of the Grade Level Reading Network, but to become one of only 120 communities in the country to be a charter member of the national organization.


Coalition partners include United Way of South Mississippi (lead organization), The Nourishing Place, Moore Community House, Boys and Girls Club of the Gulf Coast, Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Gulfport School District, Hancock County Human Resource Center, Harrison County School District, Quarles Elementary School, The Family Advocacy Collaborative, Families First, Excel by 5 and the Gaston Point Community Development Corporation.


Programs introduced to the community to increase early literacy include:

  • Dolly Parton Imagination Library
  • Excel By 5
  • PreK4Ward: a grassroots effort to provide free preschool for 4-year-olds on the Coast. Classes are conducted by a certified teacher and an assistant for twenty (20) four-year-olds with the goal of having these children ready for kindergarten. The program operates in school facilities and day care centers and is sustained by private donations to UWSM from foundations, corporations, and individuals.
  • Vroom: Vroom offers a smartphone app that allows parents to receive a daily reminder of teachable moments with their child.


Gulfport has been named a Bright Spot in the CGLR Network and has been named a CGLR Pacesetter Community two times.


The Gulfport Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is supported through afterschool programs, volunteer readers and tutoring programs.