These Pre-K students know Gay Smith as Nana. She's the grandmother of one of the children in Kelly McConnell's class. And she makes it a point to read to them every Friday for 30 minutes, but today was an exception. She had one goal, "to keep reading until my voice gives out," said Smith.
She was one of many visitors at Lee County Pre-K Program to help celebrate Georgia Reads Aloud Day.
"It's just very important for them to see that we love books and to see people read books and to have that because they may not always have that opportunity at home," said Kelly McConnell, a Lee County Pre-K teacher.
It's the first year this school was participating in the annual event. The goal is to read and track as many books as possible from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.
"We've read over 55 books," said Pre-K student Lauren George.
Pre-K teachers hope that by stressing the importance of reading at an early age their students will develop an appreciation for books that will last a lifetime. And educators say the more they absorb now, the more successful they will be in the future.
"For all subject areas you've got to be able to read and of course we want them to graduate and further their education. And it does impact the entire community to have people that can read," said McConnell.
"It's amazing to me the people in the South that still don't know how to read. And Lee County schools really provide a good education for these children in getting them use to reading and learning. And making them realize that it's a learning process so that they can be more productive citizens," said Smith.
The winning classroom will receive a special visit and reading from Georgia's First Lady, Sandra Deal and Bobby Cagle, commissioner for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.