About the LOU Reads Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The L.O.U. Reads Coalition in Lafayette County was the second community in Mississippi to join the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

L.O.U. Reads (Lafayette-Oxford-University) Coalition unites Lafayette County, which is home to two strong school districts and a thriving university,  to ensure all students read proficiently by the end of third grade.

L.O.U. Reads addresses three underlying challenges that can keep young children in Lafayette County, especially those from low-income families, from learning to read well: school readinessschool attendance, and summer learning. The L.O.U. Reads Coalition supports initiatives such as Breakfast at the Bus Stop, the Mobile Literacy Project, Lafayette County Oxford Public Library Outreach programming, and Early Childhood Provider Training to provide opportunities that make a difference in a child’s life.

“Our public schools can’t do this on their own,” adds Ralph Smith, managing director of the national GLR Campaign and senior vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “If we’re going to increase our graduation rates and close achievement gaps, we need mobilized communities working with schools, city agencies, nonprofits, civic leaders, and parents to focus on third grade reading. It’s great to have Oxford and Lafayette County on board.” L.O.U. Reads, the second community in Mississippi to join the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, is leveraging a vibrant community to grow great readers in Lafayette County.

“If we’re ever going to stop the cycle of poverty through education, then we’ve got to start early and get those young people on the right track,” says Mississippi Senator Gray Tollison. Tollison is a strong proponent for grade level reading and has been instrumental in the growth of L.O.U. Reads. Through strong local, state, and national support networks, L.O.U. Reads is earnestly working to create a prosperous and literate community.


Cara Buffington
Director of Early Childhood and Reading Development
LOU ELC Coordinator
Oxford School District