Ferst Foundation for Reading

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Ashley Jones is a mother of two. When the Ferst Foundation came to Grady County her children were the first to be enrolled.

She says, "Noah and Lauren have really enjoyed getting their books in the mail. They're very excited to go and pick up the mail to get them, and we have to ready them over and over again."

The foundation's website says one-third of Georgia children begin school not prepared to read, and 75 percent of students who are poor readers in the third grade will remain poor readers in high school.

The Ferst Foundation works to give Georgia children one book a month from the day they are born until they are five years old, with hopes of getting them ready for reading. The program is a success in Grady County with almost half of the county's children enrolled in the program. Now Thomas County wants to provide the same for its children.

Thomas County reading teacher Cheryl Crane said, "When they come to us they're already going to have reading skills, such as they know the words make a sentence, make sense, they make an idea, and they're going to know reading will be pleasurable.

The foundation is funded by donations from businesses, civic organizations and individuals, costing only $35 for every child every year. The Ferst Foundation is based from a program Dolly Parton started in Tennessee Imagination Library.