First Lady Haslam Partners with Memphis Police Department to Encourage Summer Reading

Saturday, June 21, 2014 | 9:08am
First Lady Crissy Haslam and Memphis Police Department deliver books to school-age children throughout Memphis 
                     
NASHVILLE – First Lady Crissy Haslam visited Memphis today to launch the First Lady's Read20 Book Patrol, a project partnering with law enforcement across the state to encourage summer reading. Mrs. Haslam met with members of the Memphis Police Department at roll call to share more about her literacy initiative. Later in the day, Mrs. Haslam and more than 30 officers, including Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong, delivered books to school-age children at summer camps and neighborhoods throughout the city.
 
The First Lady’s Read20 Book Patrol is an initiative to highlight the importance of reading over the summer to combat summer learning loss in elementary school students, and to encourage a positive relationship with law enforcement. Improving literacy can help a child be more successful in school and in life; it can also help reduce criminal behavior in a community, as people who have low literacy are statistically more likely to be involved in crime.
 
“Police officers are on the front lines and have influence over a community,” Mrs. Haslam said. “These site visits are a great opportunity for police officers to show their support for literacy and children in the community in a casual and supportive environment.”
Penguin Young Readers Group, a division of Penguin Random House, donated more than 5,300 books for this statewide project; approximately 1,600 of the books will be allocated to Memphis Police Department. After today’s delivery, the remaining books will be distributed by Memphis police officers throughout the summer to children who might not have access to books in their home.
 
 “One of the barriers to encouraging summer reading is the absence of books in a child’s home,” Mrs. Haslam said. “We are thrilled that Penguin Random House has donated books to children in Memphis who need them most.”
 
Mrs. Haslam will participate in other Read20 Book Patrol events throughout the state this week to encourage summer reading, including visits with police departments in Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville. 
 
To learn more about Mrs. Haslam’s literacy initiative, visit http://www.tn.gov/read20. 
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First Lady Haslam