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First Lady Deborah Bryant brings ‘Read Across Mississippi’ tour to South Hancock Elementary
By Cassandra Favre
Mar 14, 2014, 19:21

On Thursday, Mississippi's First Lady Deborah Bryant visited the students at South Hancock Elementary as her "Read Across Mississippi" initiative. The school's ambassadors met Bryant at the front doors to escort her in the school.

Deborah Bryant, Mississippi's First Lady, stopped by South Hancock Elementary School on Thursday to promote her literacy movement "Read Across Mississippi."
Bryant is on a mission to read to students from kindergarten through third grade in all Mississippi counties.
"I began this initiative," Bryant said, "because there is a big problem with kids not reading by the third-grade.
"It just hit me that I should touch every county and let them know we do care and that reading is important."
South Hancock's ambassadors met Bryant at the front door and the kindergartners sang 'You're a Grand Old Flag' as the First Lady walked down the halls.
Before reading Dr. Seuss' book "Oh, the Places You'll Go," Bryant gave the students a brief pictorial history describing her role as governor's wife, the governor's job, their family life and history and the governor's mansion.
She described her husband's struggles with dyslexia, a reading disorder that makes learning to read fluently difficult.
"They discovered Phil was dyslexic in the third grade," Bryant said. "He was held back a year and he said having a teacher recognize the problem was the best thing that happened to him.
"Regardless of your problems, do the best you can and nothing in this world will hold you back."
Bryant spoke to the children about the importance of reading and choosing what they want to be when they grow up.
"Any job you have you will have to know how to read," Bryant said. "I believe the initiative is working, they like when you talk to them about what they want to be when they grow up.
"I want all the kids to succeed, be healthy and smart."
Before the students went back to their classrooms, Bryant gave each one a hug.
"It's the only way to see each and every kid is to give them all a hug," Bryant said. "It's my favorite thing."
Principal Dr. Beverly Faust said it was an honor for Mississippi's First Lady to visit the school.
"I think it was a wonderful experience for the children," Faust said. "Our students and faculty feel special that our school was picked.
"I think that because of her conversation about the governor's mansion and job, they really learned a lot."
The school's librarian Regina Corr said said this is one of many ways the school exposes the children to a variety of the arts.
"Each year we try to bring in something different," Corr said. "Today was a busy day for us, we had the Puppetry Guild here and they performed Pinocchio.
"Mrs. Bryant's visit is very important today, because reading is the key to their future and success."
The students in Mrs. Richardson's first-grade class shared their excitement about Bryant's visit.
Zoie Lott said that Bryant was a good reader.
"'Froggy's Sleepover' is my favorite book," Lott said.
"I read it every night to my little sisters.
"If you keep on reading you just get better, and when I grow up, I want to go around the world and help people."
Curtis Gutter said Bryant is "awesome".
"I liked it when she gave me a hug," Gutter said. "It makes you awesome if you read every day."
Nicholaus Neff said he likes to read every single book, except the girly ones.
"I was happy to see the First Lady," Neff said. "It was a lot of fun."
Bryant concluded her reading with some words of advice for the youngsters.
"You can go far places," Bryant said, "when you make good choices and don't take the wrong roads.
"But if you do, just know that you can always come back to the right direction."


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