Gov. Nathan Deal hopes to create a statewide reading mentors program to increase the percentage of children reading at grade level by the third grade. At Everybody Wins! Atlanta, we applaud the governor for focusing on the importance of early intervention for building reading skills and a lifelong love of reading. The need for reading improvement in our state is great. When fourth-graders were compared nationally for proficient reading performance in 2009, Georgia ranked third from last.
Critics of the governor’s plan have said that state does not have the funds to make a substantial difference. It will be up to volunteer programs like Everybody Wins! Atlanta to bridge the gap, and provide additional reading assistance at little or no cost to the school systems.
Mentoring a child with reading is a rewarding, personal experience. Each year, I have formed a bond with the child assigned to me, and I know our reading time is important to them, too. In fact, in all of my years of volunteering with Power Lunch, I have never had a child miss one of our scheduled reading times. Not once.
At Everybody Wins! Atlanta, we are in favor of both public and private programs that encourage reading and help students improve their proficiency. The more volunteers who join us, the more children we can serve.
I invite anyone who is interested in making a substantial difference in the life of a child to visit www.everybodywinsatlanta.org and click the “Get Involved” button.
Mary Jo Peed
Board chair, Everybody Wins! Atlanta