About Read20

The purpose of the First Lady’s READ20 Book Club is to give Tennessee families a fun goal of reading together with their children for 20 minutes every day. One book will be selected each month as the featured “Book of the Month,” but we encourage you to continue reading other books after you’ve finished our featured book.

The book club is for children and families of all ages! Whether a fifth grader reading independently, or a younger child being read to by an adult or older sibling, the featured books will appeal to a broad group of elementary-aged children and their families.



  1. To encourage reading for enjoyment, reading fluency and comprehension
  2. To give families a method of establishing a reading habit with their children for 20 minutes every day
  3. To promote school readiness and reading proficiency
  4. To provide parents with tools and activities to be more engaged with their child’s learning

Why is the Book Club Important?

Reading is the basic tool for success in school, work, and life and must be promoted early in childhood. The First Lady’s READ20 Book Club encourages Tennessee children and families to read aloud each day to help young children develop a larger vocabulary, a longer attention span, better listening skills, and a solid reading foundation. Reading together will also build stronger relationships and will be fun.

Research demonstrates that reading with a child during the preschool years has a ripple effect which positively impacts the child, the family, the schools, and society as a whole through increased economic development, reduced special education, and reduced criminal justice costs.

Did You Know?

  • If a child reads for 20 minutes every day, they are exposed to about 1.8 million words of text every year. 1
    That is 137 new words per minute!
  • If families read together for 20 minutes a day, 7 days a week, they get more than 121 hours of bonding time every year!
  • Many states use 3rd grade reading scores to predict the number of jail cells they might need in the future. 2 (About 3 out of 5 prisoners in America are illiterate.) 3
  • For every year you read with your child, average lifetime earnings increase by $50,000. You make a $250,000 gift to your child from birth to age five by reading aloud, just 20 minutes a day! 4
  • Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 - 4 times more likely to drop out in later years. 5

1 Anderson, R.C., Wilson, P.T., Fielding, L.G. (1988). “Growth in Reading and How Children Spend Their Time Outside of School,” Reading Research Quarterly, 23(3), pp. 285–303.
2 National Institute for Literacy, 1998. [(Arizona Republic (9-15-2004)].
3 U.S. Department of Education.
4 http://www.readingfoundation.org/parents.jsp
5 National Adult Literacy Survey, (1002) NCES, U.S. Department of Education.