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Georgia's first lady promotes reading in area
Sandra Deal visists Button Gwinnett, Smiley
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Sandra Deal, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deals wife, reads to Button Gwinnett Elementary students Thursday as part of her Read Across Georgia literacy-promotion initiative. - photo by Photo by Danielle Hipps

The Peach State’s first lady created giggles and grins at Button Gwinnett Elementary School on Thursday.
Sandra Deal, wife of Gov. Nathan Deal, read to about 85 kindergarten and special education students in the school’s reading pit early Thursday morning.
As part of the Read Across Georgia literacy-promotion initiative, Deal recited a poem called “Learning to Read” before presenting the book “Who I’d Like to Be.”
The former educator asked the students to participate as she told the story, which explores the identities of bees, birds, pigs, turtles and more. Deal waddled and pantomimed to bring the story to life.
“Children just need to know that reading is important to everybody and what they’re learning now is going to help them in the future,”
school curriculum coordinator Beverly Faircloth said. “We’re really glad to have her. It was a very special treat for us.”
Deal tied the lesson into other activities, explaining that reading is essential for all careers.
“We have to start planning right now so that we’re ready for the kinds of jobs we want to have when we grow up,” Deal said.
“You have all these wonderful teachers and principals and people who help you, and they’re trying to teach you how to read — but they can’t put it in your brain for you, can they?” Deal said. “You have to open your brain up and pay attention and remember what they taught you.”
The kindergarten teachers used Deal’s visit as a catalyst for lessons on the state government and the role of the governor, Faircloth added.
Deal told the crowd that author Elizabeth Brown penned the book at 90 years old, and her 8-year-old great-granddaughter was the illustrator.
“So when your teacher is asking you to write stories and draw pictures, maybe one day I’ll read your book. And that would be exciting, wouldn’t it?” Deal said.  
“Yes!” children replied in unison.
After she finished reading, student James Ross presented Deal with flowers and Chase Bryant offered a gift on behalf of the school.
Liberty County Board of Education Chairwoman Lily Baker and Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette also offered Deal gifts with local flavor.

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