Ferst Readers of Cobb

What is one way to create a stronger community?  Give every child under five access to quality books in the home.  

Ferst Readers was founded in 1999 to address the growing problem of children, many from low-income communities, entering kindergarten without basic early literacy skills and school readiness, a preventable problem that has far-reaching impacts throughout students’ lives. The recipe for early school success is simple: start school with strong literacy skills. Ferst Readers’s recipe for encouraging early literacy development is even simpler. Ensure children have developmentally-appropriate books in their home and provide parents with resources that support them in their role as their child’s first teacher.

Children in the Ferst Readers literacy program receive a bookstore-quality, age-specific book and resources mailed to them at home every month until their fifth birthday. It’s this access to print that helps create a language-rich environment in the home.

How Are You Bringing Ferst Readers to Cobb County?

Roger Vest, Pastor of Powder Springs First United Methodist Church and an active member of the community, recognized the need for greater early literacy development in Cobb County and saw Ferst Readers as a solution.  Roger and local volunteers have formed a Community Action Team and are actively working to get the message out, register children and gather support for the program.

Ferst Readers and the Cobb Community Action Team have partnered with Cobb Community Foundation to handle the processing of all Ferst Readers of Cobb contributions and to also provide a way for donors to designate their contributions for a specific community in the county.

How Can I Get Involved?

First, attend our launch event.  Click here to register.

Ferst Readers of Cobb Launch Event

January 9th

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center

Secondly, you can give.  A contribution of only $36 provides a full year of quality, age-appropriate books (12) for a deserving child.  Below are the various communities for which you can designate your contribution just by clicking.  If you would prefer that your contribution go wherever there is a need in the county, select the General Fund.

Ferst Readers of Cobb – General Fund

Ferst Readers of Cobb – Acworth Fund

Ferst Readers of Cobb – Austell Fund

Ferst Readers of Cobb – Emily Lembeck Early Learning Center Fund

Ferst Readers of Cobb – East Cobb Fund

Ferst Readers of Cobb – Kennesaw Fund

Ferst Readers of Cobb – Mableton Fund

Ferst Readers of Cobb – Marietta Fund

Ferst Readers of Cobb – Powder Springs Fund

Ferst Readers of Cobb – Smyrna Fund


Why Is This Program Important?

  • 61% of low-income families do not have a single book suitable for a child.
  • The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.
  • Children who have not already developed some basic literacy practices when they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years.
  • The only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home.

What Has Been the Impact in Participating Communities?

  • Kindergarten readiness assessment scores rise significantly; in some cases as much as double.
  • Higher post-test gains for 1st grade students who were Ferst Readers.
  • School-wide standardized reading scores increase by several percentage points each year as Ferst Readers graduates progress through the school system.
  • Increased awareness of the importance of developing early literacy skills – in the home, and throughout the community.

See FerstReaders.org for more information.