Turning the Promise into Practice and Policy

Propelling every Georgia child to read proficiently and beyond!
Our Mission

Early Language
and Literacy

Through various programs, publications and events,
the Deal Center will contribute to thought leadership on
importance of early language and literacy to propel all
of Georgia’s children to read proficiently and beyond.
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To Universal Literacy by 2020

The Deal Center promotes core actions essential
to supporting universal literacy throughout Georgia.
View Core Actions


The Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy is on a mission to improve the early language and literacy skills of Georgia’s children by providing research-based professional development for organizations working with children from birth through age eight.


Passionate commitment. Integrity. Collaborative thought leadership. Respect. Our values guide our efforts. They’re at the heart of every program, every event, every project, and they keep us focused on our vision – propelling every Georgia child to read proficiently and beyond.

Our Approach

From statewide conferences to local seminars, we apply the

same three-pillared approach to every opportunity.


We conduct our own research and support others in the field to find sustainable and scalable solutions. We collect and share evidence-based research and best practices in the fields of early language and literacy development, process improvement, and professional development.


We provide research-based professional development for organizations working with children from birth through age eight.


We promote community engagement through research and professional development grants for the advancement of early language and literacy.


By embedding evidence-based practices for early language and literacy development in organizations working with children birth to age 8, we will ensure reading proficiency for all children.


The Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy is proud to call Georgia College
home and is thankful for the guidance of their senior leadership.
We must make a concerted effort to increase the percentage of children reading at grade level by the completion of third grade. Students must learn to read in order to be able to read to learn; and when we fail to invest in our youngest students, we are forced to spend money on remediation for the remainder of their academic careers.
Governor Nathan Deal and
First Lady Sandra Dunagan Deal


Are you aware that Georgia currently prepares only 34% of children for reading proficiency by the end of the third grade? This means only 1 in 3 eight-year-olds are ready and able to confidently proceed to the fourth grade with the critical foundation of early language and literacy. This has potentially dire consequences for children who often get left behind. I would like you to stop and think for a moment to ponder this question – how would your life be different today if you could not read or write?

What foundation are we laying for our children? Are we doing our best? Our vision at the Deal Center, simply put, is to propel every Georgia child to read proficiently and beyond. We believe we can and must do better. Our children deserve better. Children need to read well and on grade level by third grade to have the best chance for success in education and ultimately in the work force and in life. Reaching this goal is vitally important. But it is also a shared responsibility. We understand that creating systemic change requires collective impact with cross-sector collaboration. This is why the Deal Center has partnerships at the core of its work and acts as a catalyst to direct and focus our efforts and energy. The Deal Center desires to amplify what is already working and invest in new innovative strategies and approaches. Your help and support is critical to success!

The Deal Center will employ explicit partnering strategies for state-wide, cross-sector collaboration and partnerships focused on early language and literacy.

Will you work with me to make this vision a success? It is only with the full support of all organizations and individuals operating in the birth to third-grade continuum that we can accomplish our goal for the children of Georgia. I am honored to work with all partners to change lives through literacy and turn this promise into practice and policy.
So join us and find your role to help make sure every child reads proficiently and beyond!.