by Claire Miller
Pre-kindergarten students in Georgia State University’s Child Development Center greeted Georgia’s First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Deal, with enthusiastic cheers when she visited their classroom on Jan. 15.
They sang songs about the U.S. presidents and the 50 states for Mrs. Deal before she read aloud from “Who I’d Like to Be,” a children’s book by Elizabeth Brown.
Mrs. Deal visited the center as part of the College of Education’s celebration of her efforts toward improving literacy education in Georgia.
In March 2012, Mrs. Deal began her “Read Across Georgia” initiative to support Gov. Nathan Deal’s goal of increasing the number of children reading at grade level by the time they complete third grade. She has been visiting schools across the state, reading to students and emphasizing to teachers and parents the necessity of mentorship and the importance of being reading-proficient. Books were donated in her honor to the Child Development Center, as well as the library at Mary Lin Elementary School in Atlanta and the library at the new North Hall Community and Technology Center in Gainesville, Ga.
Following her visit to the center, Mrs. Deal spoke at a luncheon celebrating her achievements in literacy education, which also highlighted several College of Education faculty for their literacy-related projects.
She spoke to attendees about making literacy a priority with her own children and emphasized the importance of teaching children to read at an early age to prevent them from falling behind later.
“We just have to get [children] reading and if we give them a good start, they will be successful. Georgia will be successful,” she said.
Mrs. Deal’s visit to the university was also part of Georgia State’s Centennial celebrations, which will take place throughout 2013.
For more information about this and other Centennial activities, visit http://100.gsu.edu.