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Blue Ridge Scholars promote literacy in Fannin County

Two rows of UNG students pose in an elementary school classroom, holding up books for the camera to see.
The Blue Ridge Scholars pose in an elementary school in Fannin County, doing their part to promote literacy in Fannin County. The students, starting with the front from left to right, are: Emily Falstrom, Cassidy Payne, Nelson Soriero, Glenda Garcia, and Angel Flater, and the back row from left to right: Cainan Patterson, Maggie Stuart, Cheyenne Graham, Gaby Mares, Kallie Hedden, Kameron Stone, and Samantha Henson.

Students on the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Blue Ridge Campus are doing their part to promote literacy in Fannin County.

Members of the Blue Ridge Scholars have paired with Get Georgia Reading, a statewide campaign that focuses on promoting literacy in elementary schools. Blue Ridge Scholars are a cohort of first-time, full-time freshmen who are provided with integrated instruction and support.

"We decided to direct our efforts to promote literacy after learning about the statewide Get Georgia Reading campaign,” said Dr. Nathan Price, coordinator for the Blue Ridge Scholars program and an assistant professor of political science and international affairs. “Two out of three Georgia third-graders are not reading at grade level. This has deleterious effects on their educational development, as third grade is about the time when students transition from learning how to read to reading to learn the material in their courses."

Sandy Ott, director of UNG's Blue Ridge Campus, said the initiative benefits elementary school students and college students who are involved and gives UNG students a chance to give back to the community.

"It allows current elementary school students to see the college students come back into the classroom and provide role models for them," Ott said.

Price said the highlight of this project is watching UNG freshmen interact with the elementary school students.

"They are greeted like rock stars, and they legitimately get the students excited about reading," Price said. "It's in these moments that our UNG students really mature and hopefully gain confidence about their ability to promote positive change in their community."

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