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​GaDOE partnering with community organizations to encourage students to read

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office,
Cindy Morley, Communities in Schools of Georgia,

January 18, 2017 -- The Georgia Department of Education is partnering with Communities in Schools of Georgia, the Yaarab Shriners of North Georgia, and Atlanta City Council Member Mary Norwood to launch the Red Fez Reading Club, which will encourage the development of students’ early reading skills.

The primary purpose of the club is to improve early reading skills by encouraging literacy for children, families, and communities. As an incentive, children are able to earn up to 10 tickets to the annual Shriners Circus for every 10 books they read between February and May of 2017.

Participating schools can enroll their readers through the State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS), and print tickets through the SLDS to the Yaarab Shrine Circus & Fair at Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta for students. Please contact Cindy Morley at for more information on participation, enrollment and tickets.

Literacy is absolutely essential for our students’ success, and we need to encourage a love of reading in Georgia’s children in any way possible,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We’re very pleased to partner with other organizations who care deeply about educating Georgia’s future to offer a fun, creative incentive for reading.”

Carol Lewis, President and CEO of Communities in Schools of Georgia, underlined the importance of making reading exciting for students. 

“Anything we can do to help children read, and help put the fun back in reading, is extremely important to us,” Lewis said. “We know that a child who is not reading on grade level by third grade will struggle throughout their academic career, and may even become frustrated and drop out of school. We are extremely excited that three of our affiliates – CIS of Douglas County, CIS of Marietta/Cobb and CIS of Atlanta – along with our AmeriCorps programs – will be participating in the launch of the Red Fez Reading Club.”

The Red Fez Reading Club is designed to help break down barriers and put the fun back in reading,” Atlanta City Council Member Mary Norwood added. “I am committed to ALL Atlantans and am very supportive of this initiative as well as the promise it holds for children who participate in the Red Fez Reading Club. Our children are our future and I always strive to do everything possible to help them learn and have an equal footing in life as well as a future they can look forward to.”