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What you need to know about Thomasville's newest reading initiative

Only 35% of Thomasville and Thomas County Students are reading on grade level
Posted at 5:46 PM, Sep 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-20 17:46:28-04
  • Thomasville-Thomas County Sports Academy is starting a new reading initiative.
  • It's goal is to boost reading scores with 2nd and 3rd while also giving them tutoring in other subject.
  • Check out the video above to find out why this issue hits home for so many!


“If a child can’t read truly their options become very limited in life,” said Stephan Thompson.

Right now, only 35% of Thomasville and Thomas County students read on grade level. That's according to the Department of Education.

Thomasville-Thomas County Sports Academy is working to change that with a new reading initiative called R.E.A.D. It stands for Reading Elevates Academic Development.

“My father was a functioning illiterate,” said Thompson.

Sports Academy board member Stephan Thompson helped spearhead the idea. He tells me that the importance of literacy touches home for him having grown up with a parent who struggled in that area.

“As I thought about his life and the things, he wasn’t able to do and the type of jobs he had it all made sense,” said Thompson.

Now he’s helping change that narrative for others.

The program is currently aimed towards 2nd and 3rd graders at Harper Elementary School. Though the goal is to boost reading scores this new initiative will offer tutoring for other subjects as well.

“I know that they’re already doing these interventions in the school system there’s just not enough hours in the day to get your hands on every single kid,” said Lin Jackson.

Reading Interventionist Lin Jackson says that’s where the new R.E.A.D. initiative steps in to help fill that gap.

“Having been a teacher I know that teachers are doing absolutely everything they can with the limited resources they have,” said Jackson.

The program is in a short a community effort. Jackson tells me to make this happen it requires the help of volunteers and donations. The local Boys & Girls Club is even stepping in to help by providing a space for the program after school.

Currently 30 kids are enrolled but with the community’s growing support Harper Elementary Principal Pamela Cloud believes the program will expand.

“Children want to be successful, but we have to take out some of the barriers and we have to show them that they can be successful,” said Pamela Cloud, Principal, Harper Elementary School.

The read initiative will kick off right after students return from fall break.