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Lorelei Books, Toys for Tots partner to take on ‘summer slide’

Educators have long recognized the risk of a “summer slide” when students lose some of the knowledge they gained the previous year during their months of rest, recreation and freedom from the classroom. This year, local residents have an opportunity to combat summer slide through a midyear Toys for Tots effort.

Lorelei Books, 1103 Washington St., is partnering with Toys for Tots to offer a 50 percent discount on any books purchased for donation to the organization as a way of celebrating National Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday.

“What better way to celebrate Vicksburg’s support of our local bookstore than to ensure that the love of books is part of our young readers’ love for summer?,” Kelle Barfield, owner of Lorelei Books, asked. “Most people think of Toys for Tots as a Christmas effort, but this is a crucial time to keep the love of literacy and learning alive by putting books in the hands of our children.”

Barfield said local Toys for Tots organizer Jacqueline Brown offered to partner with Lorelei Books and will be at the bookstore Saturday to accept donations. Barfield said a loyal bookstore supporter agreed to match donations toward books, making all donated titles half price.

“For many early readers, books will cost less than $3, certainly a worthwhile investment in students’ reading skills,” Barfield said. “The concept of summer slide has been researched for some 25 years. One 2020 study by NWEA, an education evaluation non-profit, shows that students in grades 3 to 5 lost an average of about 20 percent of their school year gains in reading.”

Barfield said customers unable to be downtown Saturday can call the bookstore at 601-634-8624 and make a purchase by telephone.

In addition to the book drive, Barfield said a number of other activities are planned for Independent Bookstore Day, including discounts on all in-stock books, free totes and drawings for free books from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We’re also celebrating writers that day, with at least eight authors on hand throughout the day to sign books or give tips to other writers,” she said. “Lorelei Books has been recognized for several years as one of the top independent bookstores in Mississippi, and this is a perfect opportunity to thank local customers for keeping the store vibrant.”