Birth to Eight Strategy

2033 Goal

Improve the health and learning outcomes of young children through a coherent statewide child development plan.

Key Outcome

Increase third grade reading proficiency to 50% by 2033, up from the current rate of 39%.

The research is clear – students who are proficient readers by the end of third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school than their peers who are not reading on grade level. However, in Spring 2023, only two out of every five third graders (39%) were proficient readers, as measured by the Georgia Milestones English Language Arts assessment.  

Responding to low reading proficiency, the Georgia General Assembly passed the 2023 Georgia Early Literacy Act. While the Act creates a comprehensive strategy to improve reading proficiency, several factors outside of the school’s control – low parental education, community poverty, and the presence of chronic environmental stressors – contribute to poor learning outcomes.  

To address early literacy challenges, the Georgia Partnership recommends state and community leaders adopt cross-sector approaches that emphasizes healthy brain development, exposure to high-quality early learning experiences, and increased access to preventative health care before children enter elementary school.  

A state-led, community-driven approach would address the risk factors that widen opportunity gaps, while also communicating the benefits of investments in early health and learning interventions. Targeted investments to serve our youngest and most vulnerable children will help prevent more costly interventions as they grow into adolescents and adults. 

Greater access to evidence-based strategies that promote school readiness and parental engagement, including home visiting, comprehensive screening, quality childcare, and early interventions for children with developmental delays. 

Supporting multi-generation strategies that increase parental engagement and encourage the integration of services across Georgia’s education, health, and economic and workforce development sectors. 

  • State leaders and nonprofit and community partners (1) identify high-impact interventions and supports, (2) recommend how, when, and where to deliver services to children and families, and (3) set performance benchmarks to assess the quality and impact of services and supports.  
  • State policymakers increase investments in early education and child health services to supplement strategies primarily funded through federal and lottery funds.  
  • State leaders convene a working group that identifies how to measure school readiness using multiple measures of child well-being.  
  • Georgia Pre-K Program 
  • Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) Quality Rated Program 
  • Comprehensive statewide early literacy strategy 
  • Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) 
  • Get Georgia Reading Campaign 
  • Quality Care for Children 
  • Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy 
  • Voices for Georgia’s Children