Georgia’s Bold Move: $11.3 Million Literacy Initiative Aims to Enhance Reading Skills in Students

The governors of Georgia are considering a $11.3 million literacy program. The monies, included in Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s current budget proposal, aim to directly enhance efforts to give literacy coaches to train teachers and implement required reading instruction improvements, as reported by FOX 5 Atlanta.

The decision was made in response to research that demonstrates a significant disparity in reading proficiency, with only 32% of Georgia’s fourth-grade students reading at a proficient level—a figure that is consistent with the national average.

Alternative data, cited by State Superintendent Richard Woods, indicates that more than 40% of third-graders are prepared, with gains evident by the eighth grade. Despite these steps, a few state legislators are pushing for a more forceful approach to the problem.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Blake Tillery told Atlanta News First, “I would love to see the Department of Education embrace and champion the literacy plan that’s been pushed by the literacy council and by the legislature.”

A large portion of the planned budget—$6.2 million—is set aside for literacy coaches, and more than $5 million is set aside for screening tests meant to identify dyslexia and other reading challenges in their early stages.

Georgia's Bold Move $11.3 Million Literacy Initiative Aims to Enhance Reading Skills in Students (1)

Georgia’s legislative measures, which aim to dramatically raise the state’s reading scores from previously low categories, are modeled after similarly successful programs in Mississippi and Florida. By August 2025, all districts must retrain their instructors under the new law.

Read More: Education in Georgia: Demystifying Age Criteria for School Entry

However, there are still unanswered concerns about how this significant transformation in education will be implemented. Certain districts may be found to be falling behind by the Georgia Department of Education, which does not keep a close eye on school district curricula.

The Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy is surveying in response, with the hope of gaining more clarity by spring. “The research shows just going to workshops, just hearing talks and participating in webinars, that’s unlikely to change behavior,” Lindee Morgan, executive director of the Deal Center, underlined.

The state’s investment in literacy is a brave move in the right direction, but retraining all 27,000 of Georgia’s K–3 teachers is a logistical and expensive undertaking. Mississippi’s method, in which all instructors had two summers of retraining, stands in stark contrast.

According to Woods, who briefed reporters at a recent Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education conference, 600 teachers have enrolled in online training classes offered by the Rollins Center for Language & Literacy on behalf of Georgia’s Department of Education.

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