First Lady Haslam Visits Loudon and Knox Counties to Promote Summer Reading

Thursday, June 30, 2016 | 09:33am

Summer reading initiatives in Lenoir City and Knoxville combat students’ summer learning loss

NASHVILLE – First Lady Crissy Haslam today visited Lenoir City Elementary and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley in Knoxville to promote summer reading initiatives.

Lenoir City Elementary’s Read to be Ready program is one of 20 summer reading programs across the state to receive a Read to be Ready grant funded by a $1 million donation from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The summer programs are part of Tennessee’s statewide Read to be Ready literacy campaign to move third grade reading proficiency to 75 percent by 2025.

At Lenoir City Elementary, the Read to be Ready program provides rich reading and writing opportunities for 36 rising first, second, and third grade students who experience the greatest summer learning loss. Over a period of five weeks, students participate in meaningful literacy experiences based around their school garden to increase love for reading and accelerate learning in the upcoming school year.

“Summer is a critical time for reading, especially for struggling readers.” First Lady Haslam said. “Read to be Ready summer camps are a terrific opportunity to provide extra reading practice for students, so they can be more successful in the upcoming school year.”

Mrs. Haslam also visited the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley in Knoxville with Police Chief David Rausch and members of the Knoxville Police Department (KPD) to deliver books to children. The visit was part of the Read20 Book Patrol, a project with law enforcement and Junior Leagues across the state to put more books in the hands of children.

Chief Rausch announced at the event that KPD is launching a new program, If You Can Read, You Can Be…, partnering with community organizations across the city to read with and mentor children. KPD officers will meet with youth on a regular basis to read age-appropriate, high-interest books to build literacy skills and relationships.

“Our police officers are some of the best advocates for literacy, because they understand that children who cannot read are more likely to be involved in crime in the future.” First Lady Haslam said. “I am thrilled about the Knoxville Police Department’s new reading initiative and their partnership in our commitment to building foundations for student success. If children can read, they have the skills they need to achieve their dreams.”

For more information about Read to be Ready or the First Lady’s Read20 Book Patrol, visit