2020 Vision: All Kids in Georgia Will Be on the Path to Reading Proficiently By 3rd Grade


Georgia is in the midst of a serious crisis. Two-thirds of the kids in this state are not reading on a level they should be, and kids who can’t read by third grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers. By 3 years of age, there is a 30-million-word gap between children from the wealthiest and poorest families. Here’s why this matters to all Georgians:

$823,626,604: What Georgia spends in 1 year on state prisoners with a H.S. diploma or less.

15%: the unemployment rate in Georgia for those with less than a H.S. diploma.

75%: the rate of all 17- to 24-year-olds who can’t meet the minimum requirements to qualify for military service.

Getting kids to read takes more than good schools, more than great teachers, more than loving parents. It requires everyone to play a role.

That’s why an alliance—unlike any this state has ever seen—has formed to achieve a single objective by 2020: get every child in Georgia on the path to reading proficiently by third grade.

More than 100 members from this partnership joined Sandra Deal, the first lady of Georgia, at Georgia Public Broadcasting this month to launch Get Georgia Reading—Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. They promised all kids in Georgia to get them all on the path to reading before they leave third grade by 2020.

Take a look at some of the images and video from the launch.

Teya Ryan, CEO and President
Georgia Public Broadcasting

“It’s hard for me as someone who loves public broadcasting to know that we do 3,000 hours of programming a year to try to help children learn, and in our state we still have 70 percent who can’t read at grade level. That is an SOS.”



Luke, a third grader
Canongate Elementary

“Too many kids in Georgia can’t read this book [Roald Dahl’s BFG], and that’s not fair.”



Sandra Deal
First Lady of Georgia

“If you want to get better at reading, what do you have to do? Practice. Nothing is easy the first time you try, is it? But when you do it a few times it gets easier and easier… Can we read in the grocery store? Yes we can. We can read cereal boxes, we can read products in the grocery store, and we can help our parents find things.”



Brenda Fitzgerald, Commissioner
Georgia Department of Public Health

“Language is food for our brain… Good language nutrition is not just hearing something. Not just listening to a cell phone your mama’s talking on, or not just listening to television, but back and forth. Good nutrition is me talking to you, and you talking back with me.”




Amy Jacobs, Interim Commissioner
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

“Pre-K is really providing that foundation for your learning and your reading, so you can be prepared for kindergarten… I promise to continue to provide a strong foundation for learning and reading.”



John Barge
State School superintendent

“I promise you that we will continue every effort and invest every dollar that we have in professional learning, to make sure we have teachers who are ready and able to make sure you’re ready for your next step in life.”




Emmett Shaffer081514momreads
Vice President for Education

United Way of Greater Atlanta

“When my three daughters used to read to me it was music to my ears. And I’m certain, and I’m sure, that when you read to your parents it’s music to their ears.”

Amanda Miliner
2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year

“When your friend says, ‘I hate reading,’ look at him and say, ‘But, have you read this book,’ and maybe show him the books you’re reading.”



Rita Erves
Georgia PTA president

“You children are our future. Some of you may be our next governor. You may be our next state superintendent. You may be the head of a Fortune 500 company. But in order to do any of those things, you have to be able read to lead.”

081514MrsDealBoy.jpg http://youtu.be/cnM9T9pdQqM?list=PLEdCaCu9QFFkUFb4LGa7e7DDz4oXjsJxc


Carmen Deedy
storyteller and award-winning children’s-book author

“Who in here felt it like a heart punch when Charlotte died? That’s what happens when that book finds you. And then, children, reading becomes more than reading.

It’s a place to go on a terrible day.

It’s a place to go on a long, boring trip.

It’s a place to go to learn things that no one else will tell you.”




Arianne Weldon, Director
Get Georgia Reading—Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

“Never before has a group this diverse, this size, focused on one shared common goal. This goal—to have all children reading to learn, reading to grow, reading to thrive—anywhere in the country.”




First lady Sandra Deal makes her promise to every kid in Georgia and then invites all partners to make their own promise.

Now is your opportunity to
make your promise to the kids in Georgia.
And then share the link.