The purpose of the First Lady’s READ20 Book Club is to give Tennessee families a fun goal of reading together with their children for 20 minutes every day. One book will be selected each month as the featured “Book of the Month,” but we encourage you to continue reading other books after you’ve finished our featured book.
The book club is for children and families of all ages! Whether a fifth grader reading independently, or a younger child being read to by an adult or older sibling, the featured books will appeal to a broad group of elementary-aged children and their families.
By Frances Hodgson Burnett
This classic novel shares the story of Mary Lennox, a lonely, ill-tempered girl orphaned in India by her parents’ death and sent to live at her uncle's estate in England. Neglected once again, she begins exploring the estate and discovers a mysterious, abandoned garden that has been locked and forgotten for many years. Aided by a local boy, Dickon, she begins restoring the garden and finds that she is growing happier and healthier herself. Mary eventually discovers other secrets of the manor, and she learns that miracles take place in the Secret Garden!
Dear Read20 Book Club Families,
We are thrilled to feature Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden in June as we enter summertime and the gardening season! I love the magic and wonder that this book inspires and the way it highlights nature’s rejuvenating qualities. Reading books about nature and gardening can be a great way to enjoy daily reading this summer.
You and your family can dig into some great books by visiting your local library to learn more about their Summer Reading Program. This year’s statewide theme “Dig into Reading!” will inspire children to discover a variety of topics, including nature and gardening, through reading and program participation. Many libraries are kicking off their summer programs today, June 1, and the public library directory can help you find a library near you. Summer reading programs can help students retain and improve literacy skills, and they can be fun, too!
The Governor and I value your commitment to read each day and hope that you and your family enjoy great books together this summer!
First Lady of Tennessee
In The Secret Garden, Mary learns that growing a garden can be a rewarding and rejuvenating experience. You and your family can enjoy time together by growing a garden or planting this summer. In Tennessee, June can be a great time to plant beans, corn, herbs, tomatoes and more, and the Pick Tennessee Products website can help you find fruits and vegetables that are in season. We have enjoyed building a garden of our own at the Tennessee Residence, and you can visit our Residence blog to track progress of the garden at Tennessee’s home.
With five types of forest, over 4,000 plant species and more species of trees than in all of Europe, Tennessee is a treasure of natural resources. You and your family can visit Tennessee's many arboreta and garden places to learn about our native flora and discover Tennessee's breathtaking diversity. This website can help you find an arboreta or garden near you.
This year’s Summer Reading theme “Dig into Reading!” featured at public libraries throughout Tennessee inspires children discover a variety of topics through reading. There are thousands of books to choose from on the library shelves and many of them feature nature and garden themes. Visit your local public library or Tennessee’s Electronic Library online to read books with new topics this summer. Online books can be convenient for families who cannot get to their local library as often as they would like!
In The Secret Garden, Mary finds that she becomes happier and more energized with the growth of her uncle’s garden. Do you think the author compares a child to a garden? What can help a child grow into a happy and healthy person? Discuss with your family activities that you might do this summer to help you learn and grow!
Reading is the basic tool for success in school, work, and life and must be promoted early in childhood. The First Lady’s READ20 Book Club encourages Tennessee children and families to read aloud each day to help young children develop a larger vocabulary, a longer attention span, better listening skills, and a solid reading foundation. Reading together will also build stronger relationships and will be fun.
Research demonstrates that reading with a child during the preschool years has a ripple effect which positively impacts the child, the family, the schools, and society as a whole through increased economic development, reduced special education, and reduced criminal justice costs.
1 Anderson, R.C., Wilson, P.T., Fielding, L.G. (1988). “Growth in Reading and How Children Spend Their Time Outside of School,” Reading Research Quarterly, 23(3), pp. 285–303.
2 National Institute for Literacy, 1998. [(Arizona Republic (9-15-2004)].
3 U.S. Department of Education.
5 National Adult Literacy Survey, (1002) NCES, U.S. Department of Education.