Georgia’s First Lady Emphasizes the Importance of Early Literacy, Steps in as Guest Reader for Cobb Students 

Despite her packed schedule committing her to appointments across the state, Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal made it a priority to visit four Cobb elementary schools.

First, she stopped at Green Acres Elementary School for story time before she read a “Pete the Cat” book to students at Belmont Hills Elementary School. First Lady Deal gave the Belmont students a chance to vote for the book they wanted her to read so they would be more attentive.

“I want the students to be engaged and to answer and to participate because that means they are really taking it in and learning,” First Lady Deal explained. 

As students listened, their little hands popped up to ask questions or comment on the book. Georgia’s First Lady tried to answer all the students’ questions. She did the same when she traveled to Smyrna Elementary School and Norton Park Elementary School to read to students.

For the First Lady, the school visits are a way to positively impact students.

“I want them to realize that the Governor and I think that reading is so very important to their future,” First Lady Deal said. “If I come and read to them, it helps to emphasize that. I have fun too. I love it because I was a teacher. I love to read!”

Like the educators in Cobb County, First Lady Deal understands the importance of early literacy, which helps build a foundation for student success.

“As [students] come to school—the more we teach them, the more we read to them, the more they understand the language and develop vocabulary—the better students they will be and the more likely they will be to read fluently by third grade, which is the grade level that the statistics show that they are more likely to finish high school and go on for additional education,” explained Georgia’s First Lady and former teacher.

The students were not the only ones who were thrilled to see Mrs. Deal. The teachers also gathered to listen to the former educator’s story time. They were also quick to welcome the First Lady to their school.

Her background as a former educator was clear as First Lady Deal engaged the students and staff. She chose to read to young students because she understands why early literacy initiatives are essential to a child’s future and ultimately the community’s future.

“We want them to grow up to be great citizens with good educations so they can have good jobs so they can provide for their families and themselves and be happy in life,” First Lady Deal said. “We think that if they get a good education they will be happy, happy with themselves and happy in life.”