Southeast Lauderdale High School ninth grade student Liz Sprabery has initiated a project called Helping Children READ.
As Miss Dixie Outstanding Teen for 2015, Sprabery, 15, will participate in the Miss Mississippi Outstanding Teen Pageant in June. She has chosen literacy as her platform and part of that platform is the READ (Reach goals; Educate themselves; Acquire knowledge; and Develop life skills) program.
In recognition of Sprabery's program, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors proclaimed April 17 as READ day and are encouraging residents to read a book, magazine or newspaper at noon on that day.
District 5 Supervisor Kyle Rutledge said READ is a good program that encourages both adults and children to read.
"Reading is very important and one great thing Liz is doing is working on the Imagination Library," Rutledge said. "My son has been involved with it since he was two and he gets those books every month. Liz has been working really hard to get people to sign up and is working with the Boys and Girls Club to get a library at Southeast for their summer program."
Sprabery said she understands how important literature is and that is why she has partnered with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, the East Mississippi Boys and Girls Club of and United Way of East Mississippi.
"My project, Helping Children READ, is to help children and adults to understand how important literature is throughout their life and to help them become better readers and in turn develop skills that will improve their life," Sprabery said. "I want to promote reading not just at school but home as well." Sprabery said she would like to acquire books for the library at Southeast High School so children who meet there in the summer can check books out to take home to read.
Sprabery said her interest in reading began when she was a little girl.
"Every night before I went to bed my dad would stay up and read me a Berenstain Bear book," Sprabery said. "Every time we went on vacation we would find a bookstore and I would get me a Berenstain Bear book as my souvenir. Now I realize what great lessons they taught and I look forward to passing my collection on to my kids."
Sprabery said she wants to stress how important it is for parents to sign their children up for Imagination Library as soon as they are born.
"United Way and I both encourage everyone with children birth to age five to sign up for Imagination Library," Sprabery said. "When you sign up for this your child will receive a high quality book each month."
Sprabery said for more information on donating books or monetary donations, go to Help Children READ on Facebook also you can find Dolly Parton's Imagination Library on Facebook or to sign your child up go to www.imaginationlibrary.com.