Frequently Asked Questions
Summer Reading Competition FAQ
How do I qualify for the Statewide Summer Reading Competition?
Participating children must be rising Kindergarten – rising fourth grade students. Students must read at least 2,000 minutes during the dates of the competition, June 1 – July 27. Students (and families) must keep track of the number of minutes they read by filling out the Reading Log included on the “downloads” tab of the First Lady’s Statewide Summer Reading Competition website and submit the completed log to the Office of the First Lady via:
Mail: Office of the First Lady, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, Nashville, TN 37243
How will you choose the Top 100 Readers?
The Top 100 Readers will be selected through a lottery drawing of all those who qualify for entry by reading 2,000 or more minutes during the contest period.
We believe that this will provide a fair experience for all participating students, as well as encourage our readers by giving them a goal to reach over the summer.
How many minutes do I have to read?
To qualify for entry into the Statewide Summer Reading Competition, students must read at least 2,000 minutes during the contest period. We encourage reading more than the minimum, and to incentivize this, students will gain an additional entry into the Top 100 readers drawing for every 1,000 additional minutes they read over 2,000.
If you read 3,000 minutes, you will get two entries into the drawing. If you read 4,000 minutes, you will get three entries into the drawing, and so on…
What do I get if I am selected as a Top 100 reader?
The Top 100 Readers will be invited (along with one parent or guardian) to a celebratory Kids State Dinner with Governor and First Lady Haslam at the Tennessee Residence on August 12. Dinner and dessert will be provided, and students will enjoy a photobooth, character visits, singing and games. Top 100 readers will be sent home from the event with a certificate and goodie bag and will receive a signed photo with the Governor and First Lady in the mail.
How do I track my minutes?
You can track your minutes using the Reading Log included on the “Downloads” page of the Statewide Summer Read website. Time yourself as you spend time reading throughout the day, and record your minutes however works best for you: by book, by day, by each time you sit down to read, etc…
If you are participating in your local library's summer reading program, you can also turn in your log from your local library's summer reading program to the Office of the First Lady. If you choose to do this, you will need to make sure you track your minutes and be sure to turn in the top sheet of our Reading Log along with it so that we have all of your contact information and total minutes.
Does reading with a parent, grandparent, friend, etc. count? What about audiobooks?
YES! We encourage you to read on your own, with a friend, with a parent or other adult, or even during reading time at summer camps or library story time. Adults or older children can read to the summer reading competition participants and, in fact, we welcome this as adults will be able to read higher-level books with different words, sentence structure and concepts. Summer Reading Competition participants should also read to their younger siblings! Listening to audiobooks will also count for the competition.
I already participate in my library’s summer reading program. Can that count for entering this competition too?
Yes! We want to make this easy for our participating families and our libraries. If you are already filling out a reading log for your local library, or if you are tracking your books through the library’s online system , you can also participate in the First Lady’s Statewide Summer Reading Competition. Make sure to track all of the minutes you read between June 1 – July 27, and you will need to turn in the cover sheet of the Reading Log (found on the “Downloads” page), including your total minutes read to the Office of the First Lady.
For example, Nashville Public Library’s Summer Reading Challenge has students of this age group color in a piece of a guitar for each 20 minutes they read until they get to 600 minutes, between the dates of May 14 – August 3. For participation in the First Lady’s Statewide Summer Reading Competition, we will accept that reading log, as long as all of those 600 minutes were earned from the Statewide Summer Reading Competition dates of June 1 – July 27. We also ask that the cover page of our Reading Log (found on the “Downloads” page of this website) is submitted along with the public library’s reading log. It is important to fill out this page and submit it so that the Office of the First Lady knows how to contact you if you win! Please note that you must read at least 2,000 minutes during June 1 – July 27 to qualify for entry.
If your library tracks minutes digitally or only tracks how many books you read, please be sure to keep a separate log or count of minutes read to be turned in for the Statewide Summer Reading Competition.
I participated in 2017’s Statewide Summer Reading Competition. Can I participate in this one too?
If you participated in 2017’s Statewide Summer Reading Competition, we welcome you to continue to keep up your great reading this summer!
If you qualified as a Top 100 Reader in 2017 and were invited to the Kids State Dinner, unfortunately you will not be able to qualify as a Top 100 reader again this year. We still encourage you to participate and welcome you to be our Summer Reading Ambassadors! Have your parents take a photo or video of you reading, explaining why you like to read, telling us your favorite book, or your favorite part of last year’s Kids State Dinner and post it to social media with the hashtag #TNTopReaders or email it to Crissy.Haslam@tn.gov.
How do I find books to read?
Your local library is full of wonderful books for you to choose from! We encourage you to get a library card, if you do not have one already, and make frequent visits to your library to check out books that are interesting to you. The library is a great place to explore different kinds of books: fairy tales, biographies, mysteries, non-fiction stories, and chapter books are all great choices!
Why is it important to read during the summer?
You spend all year learning and reading in school, which helps develop your brain to be strong! When you do not read over the summer, you can lose those skills you developed and the knowledge you gained during the school year. This is called summer slide, but we do not want you to slide backwards in your learning! Reading lots of books during the summer months can help you keep your brain strong and help you develop into an even better reader than before!