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Innovation Video Series, Episode 1—Closing the Book on Low Reading Proficiency in Georgia


Back in June 2013, the Get Georgia Reading Campaign hosted an Innovation Forum to get people to shift thinking about the challenge before us, and to begin to map out how to get to get every kid in Georgia on the path to reading proficiently by third grade. Welcome to the first in a series of videos from the forum.

Georgia is in the midst of an illiteracy epidemic that is claiming 66 percent of our children, who are falling below—or barely meeting—the basic standard in reading by the end of third grade. This epidemic is undermining our children’s health, our state’s economy, and our national security.

The Innovation Forum was held to get people to shift thinking about the challenge before us, and to begin to map out how to get every kid in Georgia on the path to reading proficiently by third grade. Education and business leaders, policymakers, healthcare professionals, parents, child advocates, and teachers gathered at the Atlanta Speech School to present short 10-minute talks that served as keynotes of the daylong forum.

While each speaker brought to the stage a unique story or experience, they all agreed that the ability to read well as a child is tied to success in every measure. Children who read proficiently invariably have a better chance of graduating, forming a healthier life in general, and ultimately have greater odds at their backs to break cycles of generational poverty and abuse.

We will bring you a new video from the forum twice a month, leading up to our second Innovation Summit this fall.

Our first video features Gail Hayes, director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site from 2004 to 2013.