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First Lady Haslam and Nashville Police Department Partner to Distribute Books to Children

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 | 04:30am

First Lady Crissy Haslam and Metropolitan Nashville Police Department work together to encourage summer reading
NASHVILLE – First Lady Crissy Haslam and members of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, including Chief of Police Steve Anderson, today visited the Martha O’Bryan Center in Cayce Place of East Nashville to deliver books to children. More than 70 students participating in the center’s THRIVE Summer Camp received a book to take home and heard an important message about summer reading.

“Summer learning loss experienced by children in elementary grades can have consequences that multiply throughout their schooling,” Mrs. Haslam said. “Daily reading is the most reliable path to becoming a strong student, and it’s important for children to have access to books at home.”
The visit was part of a statewide swing to launch the First Lady's Read20 Book Patrol, a project partnering with law enforcement across the state to distribute books to elementary school children over the summer. Access to books can be a barrier for summer reading, particularly for students who live in at risk communities, as research has shown that 61% of low-income families own no books for their children. Penguin Young Readers Group, a division of Penguin Random House, donated more than 5,300 books for the First Lady's Read20 Book Patrol; approximately 1,600 of the books were allocated to Nashville. After today’s delivery, the remaining books will be distributed by MNPD police officers over the summer to children who might not have access to books in their home.

Literacy is important for success in school and in life, and it can also be important for crime prevention. More than 70% of Americas inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level, and nearly 85% of juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.

“We applaud First Lady Haslam’s efforts to encourage summer reading and recognize the strong impact this program can have on young lives.” Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said. “Our community policing efforts will be enhanced as officers give these books to children who might not otherwise have access to them.”

Mrs. Haslam distributed books to children in Memphis with the Memphis Police Department yesterday, and she will participate in other Read20 Book Patrol events throughout the state, including visits to Chattanooga and Knoxville later this week.

To learn more about Mrs. Haslam’s literacy initiative, visit

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