SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The board of public education for the city of Savannah and Chatham County has proclaimed this week as literacy week for all schools in the district.

Savannah Chatham County Public School Systems disclosed that their students are below Georgia’s state average when it comes to literacy. Read United Buddies is working to change that — one second-grade class at a time.

“I like reading with them,” Jayden, a second-grade student, said.

State testing data shows 43.5% of 3rd graders in Savannah Chatham Schools aren’t reading at grade level, which puts them behind their peers statewide by almost 10 percent.

“To work with our students in second grade before they get to third grade is so important, we know that kids are learning to read from K-3, and in third grade and on they are reading to learn so to get this down packed before they go to third grade we all know is very important so its an awesome program and getting the community involved shows the kids it’s not just about school it’s a community thing as well,” said Dr. Desma Patterson principal of Otis J. Brock Elementary School.

Volunteer Bettie Smack says she loves programs like this that focus on giving back to our future.

“I was so excited about it because it’s giving back to the little kids and to help them get ready for the next level and me having an 8-year-old grandson myself I knew how important that extra reading time is,” volunteer Bettie Smack explained.

The Buddies meet twice a week Tuesdays and Thursdays for 45 minutes at Brock Elementary and at Windsor Forest, they meet Monday through Thursday. Those are currently the only two schools participating and as you saw the program consists of volunteers if you are interested you can find the link here.