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 Fredrick McKissack and Patricia McKissack
Tennessee history is made real as Tennessee Trailblazers recounts the lives of four outstanding Tennesseans—pioneer Thomas Sharpe "Big Foot" Spencer, Cherokee leader Nanye-hi, also known as Nancy Ward, singer and pianist Ella Sheppard of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and statesman Cordell Hull. Drawn from different historical periods and ethnic groups, four interesting lives capture many episodes in Tennessee history.
Dear READ20 Book Club Families,
With the holiday season upon us, ‘tis the season for parties and gatherings, traditions, gift-giving, and more time spent with family. This is a very busy time of year, but I hope that reading together can help make the holidays even more special. Curling up to read a good book under a warm blanket or by a fire can help make lasting memories with your family. Books can also be excellent holiday gifts to inspire reading and learning—Bill always asks for several books for Christmas!
Our December Read20 Book, Tennessee Trailblazers, is interesting and educational, as it highlights four of our state’s history makers and leaders. You might not find these Tennesseans in your school’s history text books, but they helped forge a path for our state and the people who live here today. Bill and I love learning about Tennessee history, and I like this book because it features people and events that you might not have read about before. As you spend time with family this season, this book might help you think about the history of your ancestors and the place you live.
Thank you again for you commitment to reading at least 20 minutes each day, and I hope that you and your family have a very blessed holiday.
Keep up the great reading,
First Lady of Tennessee
If you enjoy reading about the Tennesseans featured in this book, you might be interested to visit our holiday open house at the Tennessee Residence this year, as Bill and I are highlighting legendry Tennesseans, including Andrew Jackson, David Crockett, and Sequoyah, as part of our holiday decorations. Through partnerships with the Tennessee State Museum, The Hermitage, Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, the East Tennessee Historical Museum, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, unique historical treasures as part of our decorations.
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.