By calling out letters, Gulfport Fire Department investigator Daniel Coleman coached pre-schoolers on their alphabet with the help of a storybook. Coleman says he hopes the lessons reach beyond just the kids.
"A lot of times you get out and talk to Head Start and kindergarten, school age kids and I think when they go home and they tell their mom and dad what we learned today. A lot of times the parents take a little more notice to that," he said.
The kids repeated the letters back to Coleman, following along in their own books.
"We sometimes let them repeat the reader while they read and that way they get a love for reading and they love it, they comprehend better," teacher's assistant Frances Mayes said.
"And sometimes we let the children read by themselves for the class. We'll just have 'em get on the carpet and let the children get the book and whatever they wanna say, they'll just say it," teacher Tomekia Ramsey said.
The kids get to take the books home with them. Coca Cola and Reading is Fundamental team up to give kids free books.
"It will actually put over four thousand books into the local area. We'll put a thousand out with the Head Start the other three thousand will be going to the area public schools. Like I say we feel it's important that kids learn to read," said Bruce Nation of Coca-Cola.
According to Mississippi's Literacy Council, 30-35% of adults in our state cannot read. That is one of the highest rates in the country.