ATLANTA, Ga., (April 30, 2012) – Clearly, they were up for the challenge. Wednesday, April 25, 2012, was "Georgia Reads Aloud Day" and child care centers and schools across the State participated in record numbers. With teachers, parents and special guests participating, classrooms reported reading 13,993 books on Wednesday. The event was sponsored by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as part of the Month of the Young Child, held each April.
"We are grateful to all of the participants, especially the parents, teachers, & mentors who joined together for Georgia Reads Aloud Day," said Georgia's First Lady Sandra Deal. "Children model their reading habits by listening to adults. It is important for children to learn proper pronunciation, expression, pauses and cadence. It is my hope that Georgia Reads Aloud Day has encouraged our children to read to others and become young teachers themselves."
"This was a landmark day for reading by our state's youngest learners," said Bobby Cagle, commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. "One of the simplest ways to boost a child's learning potential is by making books an integral part of their lives. Reading to preschoolers and letting them read to you helps build stronger relationships, supports basic speech skills and enhances future academic achievement."
"It's always a good day in Pre-K when children are being read aloud to," said Susan Adams, assistant commissioner of Georgia's Pre-K. "Georgia Reads Aloud Day reminds teachers and parents about the importance of reading aloud to young children. Children that are read aloud to often are children who grow up to be strong readers."
DECAL sponsored a contest for the Most Books Read between 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM Wednesday. The winner was Mulberry Creek Elementary School Pre-K in Harris County, northeast of Columbus, where students read 487 books. The school will receive a special visit from Georgia's First Lady Sandra Deal and DECAL Commissioner Bobby Cagle. Competition was fierce with Hand in Hand Primary School in Thomasville taking second place with 386 books read and Marietta Head Start/Pre-K reading 367 books.
"We are thrilled that Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Lisle have been honored and recognized for their collaborative efforts in helping students develop a lifelong love for reading," said Dr. Justin Finney, principal of Mulberry Creek Elementary School. "Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Lisle, and their innovative ideas, are prime examples of why Harris County has such great schools." "I am extremely proud of our commitment to reading in Harris County," said Dr. Craig Dowling, superintendent of Harris County Schools. "This is a wonderful example of teacher collaboration to benefit our Pre-K students. My congratulations go out to Mrs. Thomas, Mrs. Lisle, and all of the students who participated in this program."
Other schools were equally pleased with the day. "We had 17 adults come and read to our class including administrators, the school nurse, and parents," said Deborah Wallish, a Pre-K teacher at Waynesboro Primary School, where students read 43 books. "Our theme was ‘Reading Rocks!' and we gave each participant a Reading Rock Star certificate and a packet of Starburst candies."
Jennifer Jones, site director for Murray County Pre-K Center, said her classes got creative. "We combined ‘Georgia Reads Aloud Day' with ‘Muffins for Mom-Happy Mother's Day' all in one fun-filled event. We distributed reading tips to all families, and made bookmarks as well." The class read 36 books.
"The children were very eager to read today when they found out it was a competition," said Mary Shallenberger, Pre-K Lead Teacher at Chattahoochee Technical College in Dallas, Georgia, where 48 books were read. "They found every possible opportunity to read books, even while waiting to use the potty."
The Month of the Young Child is based upon the Week of the Young Child, which is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), www.naeyc.org. NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children's success in school and later life.
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 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.
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