Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, Scholastic and TN Department of Education to Provide 580,000 Books to K-3 Students and Teachers in Tennessee

 Public-private initiative works to prevent “COVID Slide” and to support student learning in the classroom and in the home

Today, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) and the Tennessee Department of Education, in collaboration with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, announced the launch of a new K-3 Book Delivery program to deliver 580,000 books to 58,000 kindergarten through third grade students and teachers across the state.

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Over 50 school districts are participating in the K-3 School Year Book Delivery program, which will deliver books and literacy resources directly to the homes of students and teachers, at no cost to families or participating school districts. Book packs consist of ten high-quality, grade appropriate books with guided activities and tips for parents to engage with students as they read. Book packs and resources are expected to be delivered to students’ and teachers’ homes by the end of 2020. Additionally, K-3 families will gain access to engagement tips via text.

The program was introduced today at an early literacy event at Findlay Elementary School in Sparta, TN and included participation from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, GELF President James Pond, White County Schools Superintendent Kurt Dronebarger and Scholastic Education Senior Vice President of Sales Chris Hedrick. There was a special appearance by Clifford the Big Red Dog®, who distributed books to students and teachers in attendance.

“Now more than ever we are committed to our mission of strengthening early literacy in Tennessee by supporting our students and teachers with high-quality resources,” said James Pond, GELF president. “Together with Scholastic and our state partners, we can work to prevent the ‘COVID slide,’ and create a community classroom to foster lifelong learners and to support students, teachers and families during this time.”

“Independent reading and reading-aloud are crucial year-round practices to help support children’s academic and social-emotional development, both in and out the classroom,” said Chris Hedrick, Senior Vice President of Sales, Scholastic Education. “With Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation and the Tennessee Department of Education, we’re proud to have an opportunity to reach even more Tennessee families with increased access to engaging, high-quality books.”

“The School Year Book Delivery program is an incredible opportunity for our state to make important early literacy gains,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “This partnership could not have come at a more important time, as many students, families and teachers are working hard to make up for classroom time lost last spring. Building literacy skills early is foundational to lifelong educational success and the department is grateful to GELF and Scholastic for their work to expand access to high-quality books and literacy resources and help students and families read together at home.”

Participating districts for the new K-3 Book Delivery program were selected based on size, 2018-2019 third grade reading proficiency rates and the economic prosperity of the county as defined by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

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