Gov. and Mrs. Deal Launch Read Across Georgia Month

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First Couple Proclaims March 2 Get Georgia Reading Day

Gov. Nathan Deal and first lady Sandra Deal hosted a press conference at the State Capitol yesterday to kick off Read Across Georgia Month and to proclaim March 2 as Get Georgia Reading Day. Bright from the Start: Georgia Dept. of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs, Get Georgia Reading—Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Director Arianne Weldon, and Georgia authors Carmen Agra Deedy and Laurel Snyder joined the governor and Mrs. Deal to encourage every adult in Georgia to read to children this month to support increased childhood literacy across the state.

“Learning to read is a language skill that has been proven to increase the quality of life, especially when it is developed at an early age,” said Mrs. Deal. “Our goal is for every Georgian to have the literacy skills necessary to provide for themselves and their families. By modeling and engaging with students, I hope to encourage children to want to learn to read for themselves. Knowledge is power and we want to give them the confidence to acquire that power.”

First Lady Deal will visit and read to Georgia’s Pre-K Program and elementary school students across the state during the month of March to promote statewide childhood literacy.

“When students are reading at grade level or beyond, they are well on their way to acquiring academic foundations that will provide benefits long after high school graduation,” said Gov. Deal. “Throughout my administration, Sandra and I have been dedicated to initiatives that increase the percentage of Georgia’s third-grade students reading at grade level and we have made significant progress toward achieving this goal with the help of state agencies and organizations. I have proclaimed today as Get Georgia Reading Day to encourage students to prioritize reading today so that they may be better prepared for tomorrow. Throughout Read Across Georgia Month, we are working to ensure that every student in Georgia develops a passion for reading.”

First launched in 2012, Read Across Georgia Month supports the governor’s Grade Level Reading Initiative, which aims to have all Georgia third-graders reading at grade level or better by the completion of the third grade.

“2017 marks the sixth year Georgia’s first lady has embarked on her Read Across Georgia campaign and DECAL is privileged to partner again with her and other early learning and literacy advocacy groups in this important effort,” said Jacobs. “As a mother, grandmother, and former teacher, Mrs. Deal has witnessed the important relationship between reading and life-long learning. That is why she is committed to travel throughout our state modeling effective reading practices in Pre-K and other classrooms.”

Gov. Deal also proclaimed March 2 as Get Georgia Reading Day to highlight the importance of reading and literacy skills for future academic growth and success in the workforce.

“As a lifelong reader who came to a love of words with great difficulty, I am honored to join the governor and Mrs. Deal in support of Get Georgia Reading,” said Deedy. “Reading is not a privilege; it is a birthright.”

Snyder agrees. “It is of the utmost importance that all of Georgia’s kids have access to the power of story,” she said. “Books build empathy. They develop imagination. They explore and celebrate real diversity. They build community. They also make us laugh! Kids need all that right now. I’m so eager to see Get Georgia Reading succeed, and I’m so grateful to see this value and focus being placed on literacy, and on the children of our state.”

The Get Georgia Reading Campaign was formed by state and community leaders who developed a common agenda as a framework for action. That common agenda consists of four research-based pillars—Language Nutrition, Access, Positive Learning Climate, and Teacher Preparation and Effectiveness—that define the conditions essential for Georgia’s children to succeed.

“State leaders are using this four-pillar framework to challenge conventional approaches and support collective action in communities throughout Georgia,” said Weldon. “Getting all kids to read takes more than good schools, more than great teachers, and more than loving parents. It takes all of us working together.”

For the schedule of First Lady Deal’s reading tour, contact Jasmine King at [email protected].

Watch the Read Across Georgia press conference.


Bill Valladares
GaFCP Communications Director
[email protected]

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