MHA Reading Program

More information available on our Family Reading Program Website

As the Hispanic population increases, schools are ill-equipped to deal with the growing need for bilingual education. For this reason, the Reading Program provides a missing link essential for the betterment of the community. It gives the Hispanic community a boost in morale knowing that there is a program tailor-made for them as well as a sense of belonging to a larger community.

The Mississippi Hispanic Association (MHA) Reading Program is a literacy program which focuses on marginally literate lower elementary age children across the state of Mississippi. Its goal is to encourage increased reading among Hispanic children.  In order to present reading and children’s literature, a storyteller and instructor employ read-aloud and group discussion techniques in presenting award winning children’s books (in both English and Spanish).  Books have been selected to address the seven universal ethical values as outlined by the non-profit organization, Heartwood, “dedicated to helping teach children universal attributes of good character that form the foundations of community.”


Seven Universal Ethical Attributes

(by Heartwood: Literature-based character education for Pre-K – 6)

Courage is not only mastering fear; it is the ability to face difficulty or risk with integrity and honor.

Loyalty is being faithful to a person, group, or ideal based on understanding that we are all part of something greater than ourselves.

Justice is being guided by a balance of truth, reason, and fairness to all.

Respect is regard for all life on earth.  It calls us to value all people and their contributions, viewpoints, and differences, such as culture, religion, age, race, and ability.

Hope guides our future through faith and aspiration, helping us to rise above selfishness and despair.

Honesty is being truthful and honorable, the foundation for friendship and community.

Love is deep care and concern for others, encompassing all the attributes.  The more love we give, the richer we become.

The program is scheduled to run for seven continuous weeks with each session lasting an hour and a half.  At the close of every session a small meal or nutritious snack will be served. (This is very important to parents with young children coming to what is usually a late afternoon/early evening program.)

Program Director: Esperanza Velásquez

Storyteller: TBA

Instructor: TBA

Location: Saint Therese Catholic Church, 309 W. McDowell Road, Jackson, MS  39204

Program Flyer: Click HERE

Program Schedule: Click HERE

Tentative agenda

  • 40-45 minutes Instructor and storyteller read and discuss books participants received at previous week’s session.
  • 5 minutes Instructor and storyteller introduce books for the next week.
  • 5 minutes Draw for door prizes
  • 15-20 minutes Serve refreshments; distribute books for next week; and check-in books returned from previous sessions


Should you like to sponsor and/or schedule the MHA Reading program in your area, contact the program director.