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Books being given out to Tennessee students this summer

The Governor's Early Literacy Foundation program will try to stop or reverse the "Summer Slide," when students may lose two or three months of reading proficiency.

A state program is giving books to thousands of elementary students in Tennessee, to help them stay ahead of the "summer slide." Country music legend, Dolly Parton, is also helping make sure children have something to read while they're away from school.

The Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation said 30,000 kindergarten to third-grade students in Tennessee will be getting six books this summer for free, at no cost to families or school districts.

It will be piloted from the Summer Collection from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation has partnered with the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library since 2004.

The reading program are meant to help stop the summer slide when students forget some of their reading skills over summer vacation. According to research, "two to three months of reading proficiency is lost for students who do not read over the summer." 

The students in 33 participating school districts will receive two books delivered to their homes monthly in June, July and August. These include: 

  • Fentress County Schools
  • Grainger County Schools
  • Hancock County Schools
  • Morgan County Schools
  • Newport City School
  • Oneida Special School District
  • Scott County Schools
  • Union County Schools

Those participating were selected 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. 

“Third-grade reading proficiency is a key indicator for a child’s future educational success and workforce readiness,” GELF President James Pond said in a statement on Tuesday. “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.”

More information about the program can be found online.

This story was originally reported by WSMV.

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