CDA, Fulton Schools, Shriners team up for reading

North Fulton creates pilot program

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NORTH FULTON, Ga. – Reading is one of the most fundamental things a child learns in school. However, many children struggle with the motivation to excel at reading. To help with this, Fulton County Schools has joined with the Yaarab Shriners of North Georgia to give readers an added impetus – a trip to the circus.

“It’s a great opportunity for many students who have never seen the circus,” said Julia Bernath, Fulton County Board of Education member.

The program is modeled off one started by Roswell’s Child Development Association (CDA). Called “The Red Fez Reading Club,” students can earn up to five tickets to the Shriners’ circus by reading books.

Roger Wise Jr., with the Yaarab Shriners, said the offer of circus tickets can help encourage children to read and have self-esteem.

“The most important thing we have are our children,” Wise said. “If they are not prepared when they enter the school system, they will fail.”

This program allows the children to “treat” their families to a night out.

“Early learning is a huge part of getting ready for school,” said Donna Smythe, executive director of the CDA. “The CDA is always on one path – getting kids ready for school.”

The program will be tested in every public elementary and middle school in North Fulton.

“This will be a model,” said Wise. “This could go county-wide, but it’s starting here.”

“We support any opportunity to encourage reading for students. This is a proven program to encourage students to enjoy reading,” said Bernath.

The circus will be in town in May.

For more on Fulton County Schools, visit www.fultonschools.org. For more on the CDA, visit www.cdakids.org. For more on the Shriners, visit yaarabshrine.net.

MH 05-07-14