Six UC counties participate in free books program

This summer, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation will provide 30,000 K-3rd grade students in Tennessee with books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Summer Collection, at no cost to families or school districts 

NASHVILLE – Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) announces its K-3rd Grade Summer Reading pilot to provide 30,000 students in Tennessee with six books, piloting a Summer Collection from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, at no cost to families or school districts. All rising 1st through 3rd grade students in 33 participating school districts will receive two books delivered to their homes monthly in June, July and August. Upper Cumberland counties participating are Clay, Fentress, Jackson, Overton, Van Buren and Warren.

“Third grade reading proficiency is a key indicator for a child’s future educational success and workforce readiness,” says James Pond, GELF president. “Through this pilot initiative, we hope to combat summer learning loss and strengthen early literacy in Tennessee by providing students with books and resources outside of school.” 

Also known as the “Summer Slide,” research shows that two to three months of reading proficiency is lost for students who do not read over the summer. Reading four to six books has the potential to stop or even reverse “Summer Slide.” 

Since 2004, GELF has partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and affiliates in all 95 Tennessee counties to provide books monthly to children from birth to age five, at no cost to families. GELF’s K-3rd Grade Summer Reading pilot expands book delivery efforts for students in participating districts with specially-selected, age- appropriate Summer Collection books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. 

Participating school districts were chosen based on the county’s designation of “distressed” or “at-risk” by the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development and the Tennessee Department of Education. 

Through this pilot, families will also receive free access to digital learning resources and activities to engage with their children around the monthly books. 

For more information about K-3rd Grade Summer Reading, visit the GELF website

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