Governor and First Lady Haslam Visit Nashville “Read To Be Ready” Summer Grant Program

Thursday, June 30, 2016 | 09:45am

J.E. Moss Elementary’s Read to be Ready program provides reading, writing opportunities to combat “summer slide”

NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam today visited J.E. Moss Elementary School in Antioch to read with 40 students participating in Camp Explore, one of 20 summer reading programs across the state to receive a Read to be Ready grant. The grants were funded by a $1 million donation from the Tennessee-based company Dollar General Corporation and through the Department of Economic and Community Development’s (TNECD) Rural Development Fund.

The Read to be Ready summer programs play a strategic role in Tennessee’s campaign to increase third grade reading proficiency to 75 percent by 2025 by providing rich reading and writing opportunities for students who experience the greatest summer learning loss.

The four-week Camp Explore serves struggling readers at J.E. Moss Elementary, a school where nearly 80 percent of students failed the state’s reading test last year. Campers receive individualized instruction integrated with fun and enriching learning experiences to build literacy skills over the summer.

“Creating opportunities for students to read during the summer months is critical as we work to improve literacy in Tennessee,” Governor Haslam said. “With less than half of the state’s third-graders currently reading on grade level, the Read to be Ready grant programs are a concentrated effort to ensure all students have the reading skills they need for success.”

Nashville children’s musician Mr. Steve the Music Man kicked off today’s visit performing his Read to be Ready theme song for students. The song, written in partnership with Matt Mangano of the Zac Brown Band, encourages children to read every day to be ready for life’s adventures. After reading with the children, Governor and Mrs. Haslam distributed books and promoted the importance of daily reading practice, especially over the summer break.

“Over a number of years, accumulated learning loss can add up to a serious achievement gap for children who do not read over the summer months,” Mrs. Haslam said. “To reach Tennessee’s reading goals, it is especially important that students engage in rich reading and writing opportunities during the summer break from school.”

About Tennessee’s Read to be Ready Campaign

Read to be Ready: Building Thinkers in Tennessee is a statewide campaign focused on the critical value of reading. Launched in February 2016, the goal of the campaign is to move third grade reading proficiency from 43% to 75% by 2025 asking leaders, teachers, principals, families, businesses, and communities to be involved. The coordinated approach addresses everything from classroom instruction and teacher preparation, to adult literacy rates, school-community-parent partnerships, and public awareness. Since literacy is the single most important skill for students to succeed in school, work, and life, the Read to be Ready campaign can play a critical role to ensure that all Tennessee children achieve their dreams. To learn more, visit the website: or follow on Twitter: @readtobereadytn.