Whitfield one of two counties honored for early literacy work

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Submitted by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

Whitfield and Colquitt counties, located in two of Georgia’s Early Education Empowerment Zones (E3Zs), have been honored as Pacesetters by the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The counties were chosen “for exemplary work in eliminating barriers to becoming proficient readers faced by children from low-income families.”

“Pacesetter honors are among the highest awards presented by the GLR Campaign,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “We are proud of Whitfield and Colquitt counties and the numerous organizations and individuals in their communities for joining forces and working tirelessly to uplift children and families. They remind us that we are seeing great progress and real results all across the country.”

In 2014 the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) designated four E3Zs in the state. E3Zs are targeted regions of Georgia that agreed to work with DECAL and other state agencies to pilot early education system reform initiatives and partnerships to support better outcomes for young children. The E3Zs implement specific strategies to increase the quality of and access to early care and learning options and to support local efforts to coordinate key programs and services for young children and their families.

Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” National tests show that two-thirds of U.S. fourth-graders (four-fifths of whom are from low-income families) are not reading proficiently. Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.

Read the story on daltondailycitizen.com.

Seminole County also is among the 48 communities across the nation recognized as Pacesetters. Read “Three Georgia Counties Receive Annual Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Pacesetters Honors.”

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