Improving Literacy in Cobb County

The Cobb Collaborative is engaging all stakeholders in a community-wide reading initiative that unites families, educators and community partners to improve literacy in children. As one of many solutions to improving outcomes for children and families, proficient literacy and language skills have been proven to directly influence the opportunities and successes of their lives. Students who have not mastered reading by 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of high school, leading to diminished employment opportunities, poorer physical and behavioral health and lower levels of civic engagement.


Get Georgia Reading

As the local point of contact for the Get Georgia Reading Campaign, the Collaborative and our members and community stakeholders have developed individual and environmental strategies to support the four-pillar framework of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign and to increase awareness of the importance of 3rd grade reading proficiency.

under the age of 6 are read to by family members more than 4 days per week

happens before Kindergarten

are not achieving Proficient Learner on Milestones English Language Arts assessment in Cobb County

Incredibly, the human brain doubles in size in the first year. It keeps growing to about 80% of adult size by age 3 and 90% – nearly full grown – by age 5. That’s why the earliest years are critical to developing strong readers and engaged students.

The Basics Cobb County is our Birth-5 programming that aims to provide fun, simple, and powerful strategies to help every child reach their full potential. The Basics Vision is a Cobb County where infants, toddlers, and preschoolers of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds are on track to achieve their full potential--having benefited from early experiences that foster healthy brain development, learning, joy, and resilience. Click here for more information about The Basics Cobb County.

Interested in bringing The Basics training to your organization? Email Cobb Collaborative Literacy Coordinator Leslie Danford ( for more information.

You can also follow The Basics Cobb County on social media:

Questions? Email

With your help, Cobb Collaborative can expand the reach of The Basics in our community, bringing a variety of programs, activities and services to support parents and caregivers of young children.

Little Free Library

One of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of children is to increase access to books, especially at home. The Cobb Collaborative works to accomplish this through the installation and upkeep of Little Free Libraries in our community. These book-sharing boxes remove barriers to book access by being available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day with free accessibility. LFLs operate under the “Take One, Leave One” theory which encourages readers to not only take a book, but to leave one for others when there is an ability to do so. This is a quintessential collaborative effort, with additional partners including Cobb County School District, United Way of Greater Atlanta Northwest Region, Scout troops, businesses, civic associations and Greystone Power. We welcome new stakeholders as the need is great.


Ferst Readers' mission is "strengthening communities by providing quality books and literacy resources for children and their families to use at home during the earliest stages of development." Ferst Readers wants every child to have the best start in life - and nothing helps a baby's brain develop more than exposure to rich language and loving interactions. 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.

Our local Community Action Team "Ferst Readers of Cobb County" works to ensure the availability of quality books in the home by raising awareness of the program, offering opportunities to "Adopt A Reader", and registering eligible children. We are always looking to increase our impact, so contact us at to learn more. Click here to follow Ferst Readers of Cobb County on Facebook.


Literacy & Justice For All

In May 2021, we were named part of a collaborative initiative working to create a language-centered ecosystem and learning environment within the City of Marietta and Marietta City Schools for children from birth to grade 3. The goal of the “Literacy and Justice for All” grant is to use a community-wide commitment to the science of reading to empower every child in Marietta to be a proficient reader by the end of third grade. This work is critically important as schools address both the significant learning loss resulting from the pandemic and the gaps in  opportunity that often occur around literacy in our communities. Marietta-based investments from the United Way in year one includes teaching resources, trauma-informed training, professional development, social-emotional learning, community programming, early learning opportunities, personnel, and evaluation.

The collective goal is not to “beat the odds” for a small number of children, but to change the odds for every child. The Cobb Collaborative is leading a broad-based communications strategy to engage community stakeholders. Additionally, we are recruiting and leading “Literacy Ambassador” volunteers from each of Marietta City Schools elementary campus. Ambassadors share their unique perspective as parents, family members and caregivers of current students with other families and are a “trusted voice” to their peers. Ambassadors are champions for their school, Marietta City Schools and the Literacy & Justice For All initiative. They are an integral piece of the process of bringing educators and community leaders together to tackle the issue of literacy and helping every child be on a path of reading proficiency and ultimately – leading a life of self-determination.

For more information about the Literacy and Justice for All initiative, please download our Press Release

LJFA Scope and Sequence May 2023 (1020 × 268 px)

Help your child’s “reading brain” by diving into the Community Scope and Sequence used by The Emily Lembeck Early Learning Center, the Pre-K Center for Marietta City Schools, and nine other early learning centers in the City of Marietta in correlation with the Literacy and Justice for All campaign. Each month there is a different focus on themes and “anchor” books that reinforce the themes.  In May, young students will answer inquiry questions like: How does who I am shape the world to make it kinder? How does the world work? and How can we take care of earth’s non-living and living things?

As the school year ends, May is the last month we will be focusing on “anchor” books and inquiry questions until the next school year starts in August.  We hope you will join us for this last month of community reading and activities.  

As you read with your children think aloud, make predictions, and talk about new vocabulary words. This will build their inferential thinking skills (what children can predict about what they are reading), vocabulary knowledge (the number of words children know and understand) and increase reading comprehension skills (understanding what the text is trying to convey).  Engage in conversations with your children about what it means to be kind and how we can experiment with the materials we find around us.  May’s anchor books are:

  • Rhoda’s Rock Hunt by Molly Beth Griffin
  • Magnet Max by Monica Lozano Hughes
  • What Can You Do with a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla

Families are encouraged to visit the public library or to find the books at a local store. Visit Switzer Public Library in Marietta to see a display of books that focus on this month’s theme.  Summer is almost upon us, and it is time to start thinking of fun summer activities to keep your little ones engaged while school is out.  While you join us in these suggested activities that you can do with your children to deepen their understanding of the world around them, also check out the Cobb County Public Library’s Summer Reading and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Programs: 

  1. Collect rocks and paint them to turn them into Kindness Rocks. You can paint pictures or short inspirational quotes.  Then, take them with you to parks and on walks and leave them for others to find.  
  2. Do you have magnets in your house?  Go on a magnet scavenger hunt looking for objects that the magnets are attracted to around the house.  Bring your magnet out into the community for an even larger search.  Make a list of the objects you find that the magnet is attracted to.  
  3. Make your own family’s version of a paleta (a traditional Mexican ice pop).  Use ice trays or empty individual yogurt cups with popsicle sticks and freeze different juices (with or without fruit) for your family to enjoy.  Vote on which flavor is everyone’s favorite and make a graph of the results!

As the local point of contact for the Get Georgia Reading Campaign, the Cobb Collaborative is pleased to increase awareness of this community-wide opportunity to develop strong readers.

If your business or organization is interested in learning more and promoting the Community Scope and Sequence by providing information and resources to families, please contact Cobb Collaborative Literacy Coordinator, Leslie Danford.



Community Members