Ferst Readers of Carroll County Inc. is a 501c(3) Non-Profit Organization whose mission is to develop literacy among young children. Early reading experiences enhance children’s chances of becoming successful students, and ultimately, educable members of the area work force.

Ferst Readers “strengthens 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. The key is having books in the home and being read to – right from birth. Our vision is “to create better learners, brighter futures, and stronger communities by giving every child under five access to quality books in their homes.”

What Do We Do?

Ferst Readers was founded in 1999 to address the growing problem of children, many from low-income communities, entering kindergarten without basic early literacy skills and school readiness, a preventable problem that has far-reaching impacts throughout students’ lives. The recipe for early school success is simple: start school with strong literacy skills. Ferst Readers’s recipe for encouraging early literacy development is even simpler. Ensure children have developmentally-appropriate books in their home and provide parents with resources that support them in their role as their child’s first teacher.

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.

Why Is Our Program Important?

  • 61% of low-income families do not have a single book suitable for a child.
  • The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.
  • Children who have not already developed some basic literacy practices when they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years.
  • The only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home.

Click here to go to our Literacy Statistics page.


Participating communities with a robust Ferst Readers program have seen:
  • Kindergarten readiness assessment scores rise significantly; in some cases as much as double.
  • Higher post-test gains for 1st grade students who were Ferst Readers.
  • School-wide standardized reading scores increase by several percentage points each year as Ferst Readers graduates progress through the school system.
  • Increased awareness of the importance of developing early literacy skills – in the home, and throughout the community.
The majority of the cost of the Ferst Readers program, $40 per year per child, is raised in each community through donations from individuals, corporate sponsorships and foundation grants.
Some of the books children will receive

How Do We Do It?

Community Action Teams, or CATs, are made up of dedicated volunteers who oversee and administer the program in each participating county/community. CATs may differ in composition from county to county. Carroll County works with strong group volunteers to manage the work of almost 5,000 children participating in our program. We have an Executive Board made up of 14 dedicated volunteers who each work in different parts of the program. The Executive Board is ultimately responsible for raising the funds needed for each child who participates in their program. This local involvement enables sustainability by building capacity at the community level around the important issue of literacy.
(From L to R) Martha Thurman, Karen Hartley, Tony Childers pose for a picture at Tanner Health System's first annual 'HEY BABY!' event.


Ferst Readers of Carroll County is blessed to have many financial supporters. Our strongest supporters are the individual donors who sponsor a child for $40 each year or make small gifts annually. In addition, we have several fundraising events each year with business sponsors and we receive grant funds from local foundations. We serve almost 5000 children and mail about 42,000 books here in Carroll County each year. Each and every donor helps to make that possible!

These are the foundations and businesses who supported Ferst Readers of Carroll County in 2019-2020:

over $5000
Alice Huffard Richards FoundationCarroll EMC FoundationCarroll County Sheriff’s Department
Carrollton Civic Woman’s ClubPower of the Purse GrantCarrollton Golden K
Community Foundation of West GeorgiaSMIFairfield Kiwanis
 Tanner Health SystemJ Smith Lanier & Co., Inc
 WalmartLovvorn Road Investments, LLC
 West GA Ambulance, Inc.Morgan Oil Company
  Ra-Lin and Associates, Inc.
  United Community Bank
  West GA Electric

Diversity, Equity, Inclusiveness Statement:

Ferst Readers of Carroll County, Inc., is committed to create better learners, brighter futures and stronger communities as part of our vision. We recognize and celebrate the differences in everyone, children, families, volunteers and communities, and how the uniqueness adds value and strengthens our communities.

Standards of Conduct

Ferst Readers of Carroll County, Inc. holds high legal and ethical standards of conduct for our Board Members and volunteers. Any concerns can be reported to the organization Chair of the Board by emailing [email protected].

Donor Rights to Privacy

Ferst Readers of Carroll County, Inc., respects and appreciates every donation received and every donor. We periodically send emails to our donors and supporters to keep them up to date with our activities. Any donor who does not wish to receive those emails can “unsubscribe” from those emails or send us an email request at [email protected]. We do not share our mailing lists with any other organization or group. Our donor privacy is maintained. Any donor who wishes to remain anonymous may do so by noting that on the donation. All donations are used for the Children’s Free Book Program unless otherwise designated by the donor. Any questions or concerns may be directed to the Chair of the Executive Board at [email protected].