Watertown kindergartener Jacilee Coles attended the dinner, which honored avid readers who participated in the First Lady’s Statewide Summer Reading competition. Jacilee Coles, daughter of Jason and Erica Coles, attends kindergarten at Gladeville Elementary School.
With help from Tennessee libraries, rising kindergarten through rising fourth-grade students were challenged to track their number of minutes spent reading during the summer. Winners were chosen based on a number of criteria including age, grade-level, region and number of minutes read during the eligibility period.
Upon arriving to the Tennessee Residence via a special red carpet, the Coles and other honorees enjoyed dinner, games, a photo booth, musical entertainment from local children’s performer, Mr. Steve the Music Man, and a visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog.
“Reading over the summer is incredibly important so that students retain the skills they’ve developed during the year instead of experiencing a summer slide,” Crissy Haslam said. “We decided to hold this competition to encourage Tennessee students and their families to read more together over the summer and to incite them to visit their local libraries, so tonight has been a wonderful way to honor those who did just that.”
In addition to the festivities, the governor and first lady congratulated the winners and asked children and their families to continue to read together at least 20 minutes a day. The First Lady’s Read20 message is part of her initiative to encourage children and their families to prepare for future success by ensuring strong foundations in early literacy.
Children left the event with goodie bags, certificates signed by the governor and first lady, as well as new books to read at home thanks to a donation from Scholastic. For more information about the Tennessee Residence or the first lady’s early literacy initative, visit tn.gov/firstlady.