Governor and first lady promote reading initiative

PRESS RELEASE

Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal today kicked off
Read Across Georgia Month in support of the governor's Grade Level Reading
Initiative, a push to have all Georgia third graders reading at grade level or
better by the completion of third grade.

 

“During my administration, Sandra and I have made increasing the
percentage of Georgia's third grade students reading at grade level a top
priority,” said Deal. “With the help of state agencies and organizations,
we have made great strides in achieving this goal. When we fail to strategically
invest resources in our youngest students, we are forced to spend more money
trying to remediate them later. By
prioritizing early childhood education, we ensure that our youngest students are
positioned for future academic excellence.”

 

Deal also
released the phase two results from a study conducted by researchers with the
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC Chapel Hill, confirming
that participation in Georgia Pre-K has significant positive effects on
children's language and literacy skills, including letter knowledge, letter-word
identification, phonological awareness and phonemic awareness. These are
foundational skills that are predictive of later reading proficiency.

 

“The
development of early literacy skills today for children birth to 5 — especially
in lower socioeconomic and dual-language families — can determine their chances
for academic and professional success tomorrow,” said Bobby Cagle, commissioner
for Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. “The
first five years of life present an extremely valuable opportunity to build a
solid foundation for future learning, one that if lost can never be regained.
Encouraging reading among our youngest learners helps build that early
foundation and supports Governor Deal's goal of seeing all children reading on
grade-level by third grade.”

 

About Bright from the Start

Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and
Learning is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of
Georgia's children and their families. It administers the nationally recognized
Georgia's Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care,
administers Georgia's Childcare and Parent Services program, federal nutrition
programs, and manages voluntary quality enhancement programs.

 

The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration
Office, distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of
child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource and
referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance early care
and education. For more information, go to www.decal.ga.gov.

(SOURCE: GOVERNOR'S OFFICE)