Twiggs County Summer Reading Program Helps Rural Students Go Further

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by Ashton Packer

TWIGGS COUNTY, Ga.– Lea Toney is Executive Director for Twiggs County Family Connection, a program designed to help kids sharpen their skills over the summer.

“If everything is taken away from you, the one thing that cannot be taken away from you is your ability to read. Reading can take you so far in life,” says Toney.

She says that the Family Connection Summer Reading program is working to help Twiggs County kids improve their literacy skills through online tutoring.

Only 42 percent of Georgia’s 3rd graders earned at least proficient scores on last year’s English Language Arts milestones tests. Twiggs county came in lower than the state average at 30 percent proficiency. This compares to 38 percent in Crawford County and 47 percent in Houston County.

Reading ability can predict where kids will go when they graduate high school and how much money they’ll earn. According to the US census bureau, areas with more educated citizens make more money.

“We realize there is a group that’s not going to go to college. There’s an emphasis on both college and career,” said Toney.

Toney adds that kids who have improved their reading skills are also more confident and comfortable at school.

She says the program’s goal is to help kids develop skills that can take them anywhere they want to go.

Family Connection is now in its fifth year. On top of making sure kids reach their fullest academic potential, the program is working with partners to meet immediate needs during the pandemic like food, diapers, and back-to-school supplies.

Toney says that they’re also working on securing funding for long-term resources and after-school programs for the future.

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