NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Governor's Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) announced the expansion of its K-3 Home Library program to deliver nearly one million books to teachers and students in all 95 counties statewide to combat summer learning loss in Tennessee.
GELF will deliver 970,000 books to Tennessee homes of participating students and teachers at no cost to families or school districts.
The initiative is called "Stop the Slide!" to bring awareness to the issue that only 32% of Tennessee third graders read proficiently, which is a 16% decline since 2019.
Reading four to six books over the summer has the potential to stop, mitigate or reverse the slide in reading proficiency that can happen over summer break.
Research shows that a student not reading at grade level by the end of the third grade is four times less likely to graduate high school on time. It is the time period where children transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn."
“We are honored to help bring the first statewide at-home book delivery program for students and teachers to Tennessee,” said James Pond, GELF President. “Through the K-3 Home Library program, we are meeting thousands of students where they are with the books and resources they need to combat learning loss and support learning in the home. Our goal is to shine a light on Tennessee as a leader in collaborative early literacy efforts, and we hope other states look to us to help promote a culture of reading inside and outside of the classroom. It’s more than books. It’s the future of Tennessee.”
Each participating student and teacher will receive a pack of six age-appropriate books and literacy resources.
Participating foundations that cosponsor the effort include Scholastic Corporation and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
“Books can be a source of comfort, learning and joy, and Scholastic is committed to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to experience all the benefits of reading, including a sense of ownership by having their own home library. We are so proud to be part of this statewide effort in Tennessee and to execute a shared mission in advancing children’s literacy with the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation,” said Chris Hedrick, Senior Vice President of Sales for Scholastic Education Solutions.
A read-aloud and book distribution event kicked off the campaign on Wednesday in Cleveland, Tennessee.