On Wednesday, Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., will help launch Get Georgia Reading – Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The goal of the campaign is to help every Georgia child read proficiently by third grade.
According to the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 34 percent of Georgia’s children are proficient or advanced readers when they begin fourth grade. Research shows that failure to reach this critical milestone increases the likelihood that a child will dropout before graduating from high school.
“Through third grade, children learn to read,” said Fitzgerald, who serves on the campaign’s steering committee. “After third grade they read to learn - leading to a healthier, more successful life.
Along with Dr. Fitzgerald, the campaign is supported by leaders from many state departments, including DPH and the departments of early care and learning, education, behavioral health and developmental disabilities, community health and the Division of Family and Children Services. The initiative also partners with several private organizations such as Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, Georgia Family Connection Partnership, Georgia Family Connection Network, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia School Superintendents Association, and The Annie E. Casey Foundation-Atlanta Civic Site.
Partners will pledge their support for Georgia’s children and efforts to get them reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. The campaign will focus on four areas:
- Language Nutrition: Ensuring that all children benefit from hearing language regularly from the adults in their lives, which is as critical for brain development as healthy food is for physical growth.
- Access: Ensuring that all children and their families have access to high-quality educational and supportive services that enable healthy development and success in early childhood and early elementary education.
- Productive Learning Climate: Promoting learning climates that support social-emotional development, school attendance, engagement and, ultimately, student success.
- Teacher Preparation and Effectiveness: Ensuring that all teachers provide high-quality, evidence-informed instruction and effective learning experiences tailored to the needs of each child, regardless of the child’s background.