Ferst Foundation and First Lady Deal Celebrate Literacy with Retired Educators

March 29, 2017 | Fine Arts Center Barnesville, GA. - Lamar County preschoolers gathered Wednesday to celebrate the announcement of Lamar County Retired Educators Association and Margaret Fluellyn as the “Favorite Reader” winner of Ferst Readers/Georgia Retired Educators Association’s (GREA) “For the Love of Reading” Challenge video contest. Ms. Fluellyn recreated her winning performance as she entertained the audience with a spirited reading of Georgia author Eric Litwin’s Pete the Cat – I Love My White Shoes. Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal, herself a former educator, was on hand to present the “Favorite Reader” award and speak about the importance of early childhood literacy.

First Lady Sandra Deal congratulates Ferst Readers’s 2017 Favorite Reader Margaret Fluellyn and the Lamar County Retired Educators Association.

The “Favorite Reader” competition is one component of GREA’s support of Ferst Readers in its mission to get books into the hands of children to mitigate the problem of children entering kindergarten without basic early literacy skills. GREA President Jesse Hunter chose Ferst Readers as GREA’s humanitarian project of the year, and REA units across the state have enthusiastically embraced the project by raising both funds and awareness for the Ferst Readers program. Data suggests that the most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school. However, 61% of low income families do not have even one age-appropriate book for their child in the home. Ferst Readers contends with this problem by mailing free, age-appropriate books every month to children from birth up until age five, and by providing parents with support material to encourage a language-rich environment in the home. GREA’s commitment to support Ferst Readers and raise awareness of the importance of reading to children from birth is underscored in the “Favorite Reader” videos. The videos may still be seen at www.ferstreaders.org, where you can also learn how to support childhood literacy, enroll a child for free books and literacy resources, or adopt a reader.

2017 Favorite Reader, Margaret Fluellyn, reads Pete the Cat- I Love My White Shoes
with Barnesville Pre-K children.

About Ferst Readers
Ferst Readers is a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy and early learning success and is committed to helping our youngest enter school prepared to learn with the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy. In the last 17 years, Ferst Readers has delivered over 4.8 million books to more than 250,000 children. More than 800 volunteers across three states are working in their communities to raise awareness around the issue of early literacy and to help prepare preschool children for reading and learning success.

About GRE
The mission of Georgia Retired Educators Association, www.garetirededucators.org, is “to unite retired Educators in Georgia for fellowship, support and educational/community service and to improve benefits for all retired educators.” GREA advocates on behalf of its 26,000 plus members statewide and gives them the opportunity to become involved in legislative issues affecting both current and retired teachers. GREA is also dedicated to the preservation of photos, reports and other artifacts relating to the history of public education in Georgia.

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