Georgia state leaders, educators, parents, business leaders and children’s authors each took turns making a promise to young children across the state at the Get Georgia Reading Kick-Off event on August 6. After 3rd grader Luke Valladeres opened the event by reading a passage from Ronald Dahl’s The BFG, each speaker stated their commitment to support this growing collaborative effort designed to ensure that every child in Georgia would be able to read proficiently by the end of third grade. (See the video of Luke reading here or by scrolling down our video page.)
Recognizing that two-thirds of Georgia’s fourth graders are not proficient readers, First Lady Sandra Deal and more than 100 partners from across the state gathered for the kick-off at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta.
Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald promised to use the nearly 200 WIC offices across the state to promote the “language nutrition” that is as critical to healthy brain development as food is to healthy body development.
Department of Early Care and Learning Interim Commissioner Amy Jacobs promised to continually strengthen Georgia Pre-K and the state’s other early learning efforts to provide the state’s youngest children with a strong foundation of learning and literacy on which to build lifelong educational success.
Georgia State School Superintendent John Barge promised to support ongoing training and professional development for classroom teachers in reading and literacy development.
Other promises were delivered by Amanda Miliner, Georgia’s Teacher of the Year; Rita Erves, Georgia PTA President; Emmett Shaffer, United Way of Greater Atlanta’s vice president of education; and Carmen Deedy, renowned storyteller and children’s author.
Get Georgia Reading is a coalition of parents, caregivers, educators, business leaders, state leaders, local leaders and concerned citizens who have committed to the goal of, by 2020 getting all children in Georgia on a path to reading proficiency by the end of third grade.Last year, they collaborated to develop an agenda for change to guide the Campaign in the coming years. The result is a four-part common agenda addressing the major drivers of increased reading proficiency – all areas of which address the birth through third grade population.
- Language Nutrition: All children receive language rich adult-child interactions which are as critical for brain development as healthy food is for physical growth.
- Access: All children and their families – all year and every day – have access to, and supportive services for healthy development and success in early childhood and early elementary education.
- Productive Learning Climate: All educators, families, and policymakers understand and address the impact of learning climate on social-emotional development, school attendance, engagement, and ultimately student success.
- Teacher Preparation and Effectiveness: All educators provide high-quality, evidence-informed instruction and effective learning experiences tailored to the needs of each child, regardless of the child’s background.
The kick-off event also represented the virtual ribbon-cutting for the Campaign’s website where visitors can learn more about the work underway and can make their own promise to get all kids in Georgia on a path to reading proficiency by 2020.
This message was originally posted on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading site blog.