Some states may be looking at elementary school reading scores to help forecast the number of jail beds they need for the future, according to the Ferst Foundation. The Ferst Foundation, based in Morgan, Ga. focuses on improving childhood literacy across the state. We have asked the Ferst Foundation for more specific details on how literacy is used by prison planners. In the meantime, their mission is to improve the life long prospects for Georgia's children.
“We know that approximately 61 percent of low-income families do not have a single piece of reading material suitable for a child,” the Ferst Foundation website points out. The foundation gives one book a month to kids involved in the program from birth to age five. There are an estimated 702,000 children throughout Georgia who are younger than 5. Not to mention that 39 percent of Georgia adults lack basic reading skills, according to Tera Cochran, a Ferst Foundation community leader, who also spoke with the Cherokee Tribune.
And here’s another startling statistic: Children raised in “professional” families hear about 45 million words, while children who live in impoverished homes only hear about 13 million words, according to Cochran.