Mustaches, chocolate milk help promote reading in Biloxi schools

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - This week, the Biloxi School District is making a big push to reach its new graduation goal and help students meet state reading standards. All four elementary schools kicked-off their own literacy campaigns Monday. One school is promoting reading with chocolate milk and mustaches.

It was an unusual sight at Popp's Ferry Elementary School Monday. More than 675 young faces were sporting cute, curly, colorful facial hair.

"It's falling off. I forgot to shave this morning," said fifth grader Stephanie DuBose.

"I got two mustaches!" a boy shouted.

Mustache Monday kicked-off Dr. Seuss Week at Popp's Ferry Elementary. Every day, there will be a different theme and activity. The mustaches tied-in to the main character in the Dr. Seuss book "Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?"

"We want the kids to understand the importance of reading. It's not just a fun activity, but there's actually a purpose behind what we're doing and that is to get them excited about reading and to encourage them to read more and more frequently," said Principal Dr. Todd Boucher.

Some students also wore brown clothing and each class received a sweet treat - chocolate milk. The activities support the district's new initiative to get every student in Biloxi to stay in school and graduate.

"The district's fundamental push right now is "Mission Graduation", that every child graduate on time with their peers and be college and/or career ready. So in order for them to achieve that, they have to become good readers," said Boucher.

"Reading is awesome! When you put on the mustache, it's like you're really the character," said fifth grader Jayla Manning.

"Everyone has a type of book that they like differently more than other people. Some people like Dr. Seuss more than other people. So it kind of brings us together just to read," said fifth grader Ania Moore.

Schools in Mississippi are also facing a tougher law that requires third graders to read at grade level or risk being held back. Biloxi school leaders believe fostering a love of reading early can help turn the page on illiteracy.

On Tuesday, students can enjoy green eggs and ham, plus grits for breakfast. Then, there's Wacky Tacky Wednesday and Pajama Day Thursday. On Friday, the fun wraps up with a parade, and students who've reached their reading goals will get to be part of the procession.

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