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Georgia Reads Campaign Launched to Boost Literacy and Recognize Communities Across the State

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Malcolm Mitchell
SAVANNAH, Ga. - eTradeWire -- Today, the Georgia Council on Literacy announced "The Georgia Reads Campaign" during the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) Annual Conference. The Georgia Reads Campaign aims to raise awareness about the need to improve reading skills in all age groups, encourage activities to increase literacy rates and recognize community partnerships that are actively contributing to a more literate Georgia.

GMA and its nonprofit, Georgia City Solutions, and the Share the Magic Foundation are partners in the initiative.

The announcement featured an inspiring message from Malcolm Mitchell, CEO & Founder of the Share the Magic Foundation, who will serve as the Georgia Reads Coach. Mitchell is a Super Bowl champion, author, speaker, and visionary for youth literacy. Additionally, Mitchell facilitated a discussion on literacy with a panel of distinguished leaders, including Honorable Jon Burns, Speaker of Georgia's House of Representatives, and Mrs. Dayle Burns; Senator Billy Hickman, District 4 Statesboro; Scott Johnson, Chairman, Georgia Council on Literacy; and Larry Hanson, CEO and Executive Director, GMA. Each of these leaders expressed their commitment to improving literacy in Georgia.

"The Georgia House has long been a champion for initiatives aimed at improving literacy outcomes for our students and supporting our teachers who work tirelessly to educate Georgia's children," said House Speaker Jon Burns. "We know that a child's ability to read greatly impacts his/her future success, and every Georgian has a responsibility to instill the importance of reading in our future generations. Dayle and I are thrilled to join alongside the Georgia Council on Literacy, the Georgia Municipal Association, and the Share the Magic Foundation to encourage community involvement in the achievement of students in every corner of our great state."

"It was an honor to champion Senate Bill 211 which established the Georgia Council on Literacy," said Senator Billy Hickman. "This campaign is a significant step forward to support those community partnerships that have been committed to improving literacy outcomes for students."

With a strong focus on improving literacy and reducing intergenerational poverty, Georgia City Solutions, a nonprofit of GMA, has been actively implementing literacy programs around the state.

"Partnering with the Georgia Reads Campaign underscores our commitment to addressing literacy as a fundamental issue that impacts education, the economy, workforce development, and quality of life in Georgia's cities," said GMA CEO & Executive Director Larry Hanson. "The Georgia Reads Campaign will recognize those communities that are ensuring every Georgian has the opportunity to read, learn, and succeed. We are proud to be a part of this transformative effort."

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Key elements of the campaign are publicly acknowledging community partners who are making a difference in literacy skills and investing to sustain literacy improvements.

"Supporting literacy initiatives at the community level is essential for fostering a culture of learning and success across our state," said Scott Johnson, Chairman of Georgia Council on Literacy. "The Georgia Reads Campaign provides vital resources and recognition to those individuals and communities that are changing the trajectory of literacy."

The campaign will include several events and initiatives: Georgia Reads Community Awards, READBowl, and Georgia Reads Day at the Capitol in February 2025.
  • The Georgia Reads Community Awards will recognize up to ten community partnerships that have made notable progress in literacy over the past three to five years. Each winning community will receive up to $25,000 to continue their literacy improvement efforts and a visit from Mitchell and the Share the Magic Foundation.
  • READBowl is a statewide reading challenge that will be hosted by Georgia Reads and the Share the Magic Foundation. The Georgia elementary, middle school and high school classrooms/teams with the highest average reading minutes will win state recognition, a visit to the state Capitol, and the READBowl state championship trophy.
  • Georgia Reads Day at the Capitol is scheduled for February 2025, when the Georgians can unite to acknowledge the importance of literacy.

"As the Georgia Reads Coach, I am proud to support this vital initiative to promote literacy across Georgia," said Mitchell. "Growing up in Valdosta, I witnessed firsthand the transformative power of reading. The Georgia Reads Campaign, in collaboration with the Georgia Municipal Association, Georgia City Solutions, and the Share the Magic Foundation, will recognize and support the community partnerships driving real progress. Together, we can inspire every child to discover the joy of reading and achieve their full potential."

The Georgia Reads Community Award application opens on Sept. 30 and closes Nov. 26, 2024. For more information about the Georgia Council on Literacy and the Georgia Reads Campaign, visit,  https://gosa.georgia.gov/georgia-council-literacy.


About the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA): Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and consulting services to all of Georgia's 536 cities. GMA anticipates and influences the forces shaping Georgia's cities and to provide leadership, tools and services that assist municipal governments in becoming more innovative, effective and responsive. Created in 1933, the Georgia Municipal Association is the only state organization that represents municipal governments in Georgia. For more information, visit www.gacities.com.

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About Georgia City Solutions
Georgia City Solutions, Inc. (GCS) is a 501(c)(3) organization created in 2018 by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) to help cities address the challenges of intergenerational poverty. The mission of GCS is to establish and support innovative programs, solutions and research aimed at building vibrant, economically prosperous, and well-managed cities, and improving the quality of life of municipal residents. Learn more about GCS at www.gacitysolutions.org.

About the Georgia Council on Literacy

In 2023, the Georgia General Assembly passed, and Governor Brian Kemp signed into law, two significant bills that address the state's literacy rates:  House Bill 538 and Senate Bill 211. HB 538 requires kindergarten through third grade reading instruction to be based on science of reading. The bill specifies five requirements including teacher training, universal screening of students, high quality instructional materials based on the science of reading, tiered student interventions, and new teacher instruction through the public schools of education. SB 211 created the Georgia Council on Literacy, a 30-member council appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House.   The Council is primarily responsible for monitoring the implementation of HB 538's requirements.  Additionally, the Council is tasked with involving communities in efforts to enhance literacy skills in every area in the state.

About Share the Magic Foundation

Author and Super Bowl Champion Malcolm Mitchell considers a love of reading to be his greatest achievement. In 2016, he founded Share the Magic Foundation with a sole purpose: to transform children's lives through literacy. The Foundation's mission is to inspire young people to read by bringing book ownership and innovative programming to students in Title I schools and under-resourced communities. Whether a student is a striving reader or learns differently, Read with Malcolm literacy programs provide both inspiration and motivation, and carry the message that reading is the key to achieving one's goals. To learn more about Malcolm's vision to inspire young and striving readers, please visit www.readwithmalcolm.com.

Latisha Gray

Source: Georgia Municipal Association
Filed Under: Books, Education, Government

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