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Bulloch School Leaders Share Local Literacy Efforts with State Legislators

Irene Munn (lobbyist), Director of Early Learning & Literacy Crystal Simpkins, Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement Teresa Phillips, Executive Director of Program Improvement Julie Chance, Sen. Billy Hickman, Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson / Bulloch Co Schools

Bulloch County school leaders shared local literacy efforts with state legislators in Atlanta on February 8, during day 15 of the 2023 legislative session.

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Addressing the state senate’s Education and Higher Education committees’ joint hearing on literacy, Bulloch County Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson and Crystal Simpkins, the school district’s director of early learning and literacy, spoke about how Bulloch County Schools has formed a community collaborative, the Bulloch County Literacy Council, to help put books in the hands of children and reactivate the love of reading and learning.

Wilson and Simpkins shared with senators, including Sen. Billy Hickman (R-District 4), chairman of the Higher Education Committee, that through the collaborative’s Bulloch READ initiative, the Literacy Council has prioritized literacy for children from birth to 5-years-old. To help make the community literacy-rich, the Council has distributed more than 20,000 books to families through its book bus, book vending machines in nine elementary schools, community book drops, and book donations to schools. They also shared how the Literacy Council has helped encourage adults and families to read to children through its home and business reading nooks campaign.

“Literacy is a community issue, so it requires a community solution,” Wilson said during his remarks to the joint committees. He also encouraged other school systems to make whatever they do for literacy engaging and to allow for community ownership so the effort will be sustainable.

Bulloch County Schools was one of four groups invited to speak before the joint committees. Others included the Technical College System of Georgia, Barrow County Schools and Marietta City Schools. In its remarks the Technical College System’s Office of Adult Education said almost a quarter of adult Georgians have low literacy skills. They served around 50,000 Adult Education students through 30 programs before the pandemic. The biggest barrier to literacy for adult learners varies, but some include childcare, transportation, and shame.

The Bulloch County Literacy Council is a collaborative group of educators, representatives from literacy organizations, business and civic organization leaders, and community volunteers. Its purpose is to sustain a community collaborative that works to increase Kindergarten readiness for students from birth through Pre-Kindergarten and to support the improvement of literacy levels for all children in Kindergarten through fifth grade. The Literacy Council’s Bulloch READ initiative focuses on the following: Reading: Encourage the creation of Reading nooks; Environment: Encourage a literacy-rich Environment; Access: Increase Access to book and reading resources; and Development: Increase early brain Development. To learn more, visit

The Literacy Council has two events this quarter – its 3rd Annual Kid’s Reading Nook Photo Contest sponsored by Kid’s World Learning Center, which encourages reading nooks in homes and businesses and increases children’s access to books, and its Literacy Luau for the community on March 2, from 5-7 p.m., at Bulloch Solutions, which is Read Across America Day.

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