First Lady Haslam and Chattanooga Police Department Partner for Summer Reading Project

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 | 5:00am

First Lady Crissy Haslam, Chattanooga Police Department deliver books to children to promote reading over the summer
NASHVILLE – First Lady Crissy Haslam and members of the Chattanooga Police Department, including Police Chief Fred Fletcher, today visited school-age children throughout the community to distribute books. The visits were a part of Mrs. Haslam’s Read20 Book Patrol, a partnership with law enforcement across the state to promote summer reading. Summer is a critical time for reading, as students who do not practice their literacy skills while they are out of school can fall years behind in reading.

“Over a number of years, the accumulated summer loss adds up to a serious achievement gap for children who do not read” Mrs. Haslam said.  “The negative consequences can amplify for children in low-income families, because they often have less access to books.”

The Read20 Book Patrol aims to put more books in the hands of children who need them most. Police officers are an excellent vehicle for the book distributions, because they interact with children who might not have books in their home.  Literacy can also be effective for crime prevention. Statistics show that people who are literate are less likely to be involved in crime. Penguin Young Readers Group, a division of Penguin Random House, donated more than 5,300 books for this statewide project; approximately 1,100 of the books will be allocated to Chattanooga Police Department. After today’s delivery, the remaining books will be distributed by Chattanooga police officers throughout the summer to children who they interact with in their daily work.

“I hope the program can help law enforcement officers increase their effectiveness and safety by building trust with children,” Mrs. Haslam said. “The early years of a child’s life are foundational for their future. It is important for children to understand that police officers care to invest in their success and want them to become strong readers.”

Mrs. Haslam has participated in Read20 Book Patrol events in Memphis and Nashville this week, and she will distribute books with the Knoxville Police Department tomorrow.

To learn more about Mrs. Haslam’s literacy initiative, visit

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First Lady Haslam