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Read Across Georgia: Building a Strong Foundation for the Future

March 6, 2014
First Lady Sandra Deal reading to kindergarteners at the Georgia Capitol

The State of Georgia kicked-off “Read Across Georgia” month in March, an initiative launched by First Lady Sandra Deal to raise literacy proficiency levels among Georgia’s youth. Since the program’s inception, Georgia’s students have received individualized and group mentorship, books and reading resources from donors statewide and visits from elected officials and volunteers from the local community. 

Literacy is one of the most important things we can do to ensure a positive future for Georgia’s children. Empowering Georgia students with a firm foundation in reading and literacy skills will ensure they are prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

As part of the “Read Across Georgia” program, I’ve had the opportunity to visit several schools throughout the 56th Senate District with First Lady Sandra Deal and have witnessed first-hand the positive impact this program has had on the lives of Georgia’s children. Getting children excited about learning is contagious and will help their classmates, friends and family. This program reaches students statewide and serves as a powerful investment in our state’s future.

Reading has always been a top priority in the Albers’ household. My sons, Will and Ryan, have always been avid readers – a love that started at a young age when reading bedtime stories and saying our nightly prayers. Reading to our children instilled a life-long passion for learning and has inspired our kids to dream big. 

When reading to students across the 56th Senate District, I often take books that inspire generous acts of service and teach children the history of our great state and nation. We cannot chart a course for the future if we do not understand the past.

Some of my favorite stories highlight heroic acts of courage demonstrated by firefighters, the military and other public protectors. These stories truly reflect the enduring spirit of the American people and remind us of the high cost of freedom.

In previous generations, literacy development involved voluminous card catalogs, trips to the library and hard-backed books. Although these learning methods are still used, Georgia teachers and families are employing the use of today’s technological advancements to spur learning, including surfing the world-wide web and taking advantage of online reference books and tutorials. The methods may be different, but providing a solid foundation in reading and critical thinking is critical to helping this generation obtain high-paying careers in today’s competitive workforce.

As parents, teachers, mentors and peers, it is important we work together to teach our children about the importance of literacy for future success. Another way to get kids excited about reading is through volunteering at a local school or day care. If we hope to inspire the next generation of leaders, we must lead by example. Reading transforms the way children view the world - encouraging imaginative thinking and teaching practical lessons that span an entire lifetime.

To learn more about how you can plan a reading event or promote reading in your community, you can visit the national “Read Across America” website.

About the Author

Sen. John Albers represents the 56th Senate District which includes portions of North Fulton and Cherokee counties. He may be reached at his office at 404.463.8055 or by email at john.albers@senate.ga.gov.