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It is indisputable that having literate and well-educated children is crucial to the future of both Mississippi and the nation as a whole. The National Institute for Literacy defines literacy as “all the activities involved in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and appreciating both spoken and written language.” It involves the ability of a person to interact with others, succeed in school, understand and solve problems presented to them, perform on the job and as a part of society, and achieve one’s goals for the future. Lack of basic literacy skills is associated with “academic failure, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, delinquency, unemployment, low productivity, and welfare dependence.” Literacy, therefore, encompasses a range of skills and abilities that highly impact one’s future and accordingly ought to be acquired, and ought to be acquired beginning at the earliest age possible. Mississippi, which is cited in many reports as having among the worst literacy rates in the country, must invest in the literacy of its children for the betterment of the entire community across a range of measures.

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