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Empowering Young Minds: FERST Readers Tackles Child Literacy, One Community at a Time

Written By: Team CMC

Ferst Readers is on a mission to strengthen communities by providing quality books and literacy resources for children and their families during the crucial early stages of development. Its team understands that nothing fosters a child's brain development more than the power of books.

The vision is clear: To create better learners, brighter futures, and stronger communities by ensuring that every child under five has access to quality books in their homes.

"Our focus is the child and to make literacy visible and valued in Laurens County," said Ronda Walker, retired teacher and literacy coach who works with the Ferst Readers' local partner. "But you can't just do it on your own, it takes a community."

The impact of early literacy cannot be overstated — Children who enter school with strong literacy skills are more likely to succeed academically and beyond. Ferst Readers is a national nonprofit with partner organizations in dozens of communities across Georgia, plus partners in Charleston, S.C., and other states across the country. Its recipe for encouraging early literacy development is to provide children with books and support parents as their child's first teacher.

Laurens County Literacy Task Force spearheaded the creation of a literacy task force in Laurens County, bringing together members of the community to build on the great work of Ferst Readers. This group has worked on many projects such as installing "Little Libraries'' built by local high school students in parks, churches and recreation centers in the area. You can find a "Walking Story" in Laurens County's Buckeye Park where kids can walk the track and read the story as they go, and book vending machines scattered around the community, too.

The impact of Ferst Readers continues to grow locally and nationally, shaping young minds and strengthening communities one book at a time. Together, communities are building a world where every child has the opportunity to thrive, learn, and dream—regardless of their background or circumstances.

"Making reading fun and accessible to all kids is what's important," says Ronda. "We just want to help the kids and lift up the community."

Learn more at ferstreaders.org.


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