The Power and Magic of Reading and Learning

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Sara Lee Crumbs, Quitman County Family Connection coordinator, said something magical happens when a group of like-minded individuals who believe in the power of learning and literacy come together and decide to meet parents where they are.

The Quitman County Early Literacy Task Force focused on two of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign’s four pillars—language nutrition and access—and created a Facebook page to connect with and show support for families while providing parenting tips and resources.

“Your greatest resource is sitting at the table with you or in the community where you are,” said Crumbs. “If you can get them at the table without all the funding, you know you’re going to succeed. Your sustainability is already there because they are committed—the buy in is there.”

The task force teamed up with partners to offer programming like the Winter Literacy Celebration, which provides a training workshop for parents along with books and gifts for children, and the Mobile Learning Hotspot, which includes free books, giveaways, and a meal along with tips for parents to support their students.

“Not only are we talking to the parents, but we’re talking with them and learning from them some of the needs they want us to help them meet so they can help their child be successful in school,” said Crumbs.

The Collaborative also teams up with partners to host a summer reading party, school supply drive, and resource fair for families od school-age children, along with a community baby shower that emphasizes the importance of reading to children from birth.

The percentage of fifth graders performing at the proficient and above level on the Georgia Milestones assessment for English Language Arts has increased from 10.7% in 2017 to 27.2% in 2019—and Quitman County’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) score saw a 15.8% increase from 2018 to 2019.

“I had a mother who believed in magic and the power of early learning and literacy,” said Crumbs. “My challenge to all of you is to be like my mother. I want you to take the magic that you have within you and the knowledge you possess—and I want you to plant that seed of magic in every child and empower them and embolden them to reach for success.”

Get the full recap of the Beyond 2020 Get Georgia Reading Campaign Summit that brought together a unique cross-section of community leaders and statewide decision-makers to stimulate innovative, scalable solutions that will create the conditions essential for all children to become proficient readers by the end of third grade.

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Krystin Dean
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Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) is a public-private partnership created by the State of Georgia and investors from the private sector to assist communities in addressing the serious challenges facing children and families. GaFCP also serves as a resource to state agencies across Georgia that work to improve the conditions of children and families. Georgia KIDS COUNT provides policymakers and citizens with current data they need to make informed decisions regarding priorities, services, and resources that impact Georgia’s children, youth, families, and communities.