(WTVM) - Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal were joined on Monday by Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) Commissioner Amy Jacobs to kick off Read Across Georgia Month, a campaign that supports increased childhood literacy in the state.
"A firm literary foundation is essential for academic success, and the Read Across Georgia initiative helps to provide just that," said Gov. Deal. "I'm confident that through our continued partnerships with state agencies, organizations and classrooms all over the state, we can fully achieve our goal of educating all children to their fullest potential."
As a part of the celebrations, First Lady Deal introduced a new Pre-K book,
, which was written by teachers at the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy at the Atlanta Speech School. A copy of the book will be given as a gift to every student in Georgia's Pre-K Program.
"It takes parents, teachers and the community working together to lay the educational groundwork for academic success," said Sandra. "
is a family adventure that engages children and serves as a teaching tool for parents and caregivers. My hope is that this book will help parents become more confident as they guide their children in the process of learning to read."
"It has been such a privilege to write this book with Mrs. Deal and our state's outstanding public servants at the Department of Early Care and Learning," said Atlanta Speech School Executive Director Comer Yates. "We are so grateful to have the chance to help in honoring Mrs. Deal and the governor's purpose for all Georgia's children to become proficient readers; strong, fearless students; and engaged citizens who will make a difference for a lifetime."
The Read Across Georgia campaign, launched in 2012, supports the governor's Grade Level Reading Initiative, which aims to have all Georgia third-graders reading at grade level or better by the completion of third grade. In support of this goal and to promote statewide childhood literacy, the first lady will visit and read to Pre-K students across the state during the month of March.
"Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is a predictor of positive outcomes for children later in life," said DECAL Commissioner Amy Jacobs. "DECAL supports Governor Deal's grade-level reading goal by laying a solid foundation of pre-literacy skills in Georgia's youngest children from birth to age 5 in child care settings and in Georgia's Pre-K Program."
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 Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care, administers Georgia's Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program, federal nutrition programs, and manages Quality Rated, Georgia's community-powered child care rating system.
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