Program Summary 

The MiSsion Acceleration pilot program is designed to accelerate reading achievement for 1000 children from Mississippi. The program will provide the trifecta of support for readers in grades K-5:

  1. an evidence-based intervention with explicit, systematic 1:1 academic  assistance (also known as high-dosage tutoring) in reading
  2. a student-centered, personalized,  digital literacy environment giving students access to more than 6,000 enhanced digital books  matched to the students’ interest, grade, and Lexile® reading level to deliver appropriate texts for  reading practice that can be monitored and assessed, as well as utilized for parent/child/academic  guide engagement
  3. a meaningful connection with a role model for academic, social, and emotional support.

    To combat pandemic-related learning loss due to extensive periods of time out of school or  time spent learning asynchronously, this intensive program will span four academic semesters: Summer and Fall 2021; as well as Spring and Summer 2022.  



The goals of this proposed project are:

  • increase the number of skilled reading Academic Guides  (tutors) in Mississippi
  • positively impact academic outcomes in reading for students in grades K-5
  • increase the total number of minutes a struggling reader spends on appropriate, Lexile®-leveled  text
  • reduce the negative effects of the pandemic on the academic and social/emotional well-being  of students in grade K-5
  • expand resources for parents to support reading development at  home. 

Ashley Parker Sheils
Program Director

A native Mississippian, Dr. Ashley Parker Sheils has fifteen years of experience in literacy education as a teacher and an evidence-based, job-embedded literacy coach, which requires designing, delivering, and evaluating professional learning opportunities to improve literacy instruction and ultimately literacy achievement among PreK-12 learners. In addition to literacy coaching, Ashley has served as a Reading/Language Arts and Social Studies teacher, the Director of the Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a project coordinator for a federal research study related to literacy coaching, and a literacy consultant for national & state-level organizations, school districts, and non-profit agencies, specifically related to planning, implementing, and scaling evidence-based literacy practices and interventions. Most importantly, Ashley is a mom of four-year-old twin boys. Ashley is passionate about reading instruction, as well as designing and delivering high-quality learning experiences for children & educators, and was recently recognized for her dissertation work related to vocabulary instruction with a national award.