Community leaders at GSW address improving literacy rates in Americus

This comes as 1 in 6 Georgia adults have low literacy skills, according to Georgia After School Network.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 5:57 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2023 at 5:58 PM EDT
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Schools and community leaders in Americus are now prioritizing reading skills, and they’re launching new innovative programs to do it. This comes as 1 in 6 Georgia adults have low literacy skills, according to Georgia After School Network. WALB reports on how today’s “Jubilee Symposium” at Furlow Charter school is issuing a county-wide challenge.

This space is more than just a room full of leaders, educators, and students. It’s a collaborative effort to provide solutions to help increase not only the literacy rate here in Americus, but in Georgia overall.

Americus-Sumter Reads, which is scheduled to start in the coming months, is a program by the city of Americus, through the Georgia Municipal Association. It will work to improve literacy rates using city resources, like libraries. They mayor will also have a book club to reach students.

Sanah Jivani is a servant at heart. To improve literacy rates in Americus, she says you don’t need a lot to make a difference... you just need to be willing to serve.

“When I first started my service journey, I started with little to no resources. And I think sometimes you think you might need fame, accolades, and resources to serve. But I want to show people that whoever you are, you can make a difference,” said Sanah Jivani, Founder of Love Your Natural Self Foundation in Washington D.C.

When it comes to literacy initiatives, elected officials also play a role in South Georgia education.

“So I think what we have heard here today around the importance of literacy and literacy-wide community initiatives as well as the importance of engraining service into students while they are younger, so they can become productive citizens of the community serving the community,” said Allyson Drinnon, Field Representative for Congressman Sanford Bishop.

Statistics show that the average reading level for a third grader in Georgia typically falls between 12 and 25 percent. However, Clarke County, Athens, GA leaders are trying to increase the current status from 20 percent to 60 by 2027... and they are urging other counties to follow suit.

“There is a correlation between third graders who are not reading on level and eventual high school dropout. Statistically, third graders not reading on level are four times more likely to drop out of high school,” said Matt Stevens, Senior Director of Community Impact, Athens, Georgia.

To find out how you can help support the county-wide challenge of the Jubilee Symposium at Furlow Charter school you can click here.