Click to print Close window
Georgia Seal

Atlanta students honored for completing Summer Reading Program

Thursday, September 18, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Georgia Receives $51 Million in Reading Grant Funds

Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today joined Acting Deputy Secretary of Education Gene Hickok to announce that the state of Georgia will receive $51 million in federal reading grant funds to improve reading achievement using scientifically proven instruction methods. In total, over six years, Georgia is set to receive $180 million in Reading First funds, subject to the state's successful implementation and congressional appropriations.

"Reading skills are the building blocks of education. I am committed to improving reading instruction in Georgia's schools," said Governor Perdue. "I know that this Reading First grant will help give every child the opportunity to develop stronger reading skills."

Governor Perdue and Deputy Secretary Hickok made the announcement at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School in Atlanta, where they were joined by First Lady Mary Perdue, Congressman Phil Gingrey, Congressman Johnny Isakson, and Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly L. Hall.

The Reading First Grant of $51 million includes all of the state's FY 2002 award and 80 percent of the state's FY 2003 award. Georgia's application passed a rigorous review panel that judged the state's plan against 25 review criteria. The grant will support key improvements in classroom reading instruction, including teaching based on research that shows what works, early identification and help for reading difficulties, monitoring student progress and continuous, high-quality professional development for teachers.

Georgia will use about $40.8 million of the grant to make subgrant awards to approximately 120 schools in eligible districts. The subgrants will allow schools to implement research-based reading programs for students in kindergarten through third grade and to provide professional development to ensure that all teachers have the skills they need to teach these programs effectively. Additionally, the programs will support the use of instructional assessments so that teachers can effectively screen and identify the reading barriers facing their students, as well as monitoring their progress.

Governor Perdue and Deputy Secretary Hickok also honored students and sponsors who participated in the No Child Left Behind Summer Reading Achievers program. The No Child Left Behind Summer Reading Achievers pilot program encouraged school children in grades K-8 to read actively during the summer months. More than 18,000 students took part in the program, and nearly 11,000 reached the goal of reading at least 10 books. Atlanta was chosen as a pilot site for the program.