Press Release from First Lady Crissy Haslam, Oct. 28, 2011:
Stresses importance of early literacy during Knoxville workshop
KNOXVILLE – First Lady Crissy Haslam today spoke to East Tennessee Imagination Library volunteers during a Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation workshop in Knoxville.
During the event, held at the Burlington Branch Library, Haslam thanked volunteers for their efforts to facilitate early literacy. She also discussed her parental involvement initiative to remind parents of their role as a child’s first teacher and to encourage partnership between schools and families.
“Today, only one out of 300 children from low-income families has age-appropriate children’s books in their home,” Mrs. Haslam said. “As program volunteers, you play an important role in improving literacy for our youngest Tennesseans and are on the front lines in helping them develop a love for reading before they reach Kindergarten.”
The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, which leads Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in all of Tennessee’s 95 counties, hosts annual workshops for volunteers and local affiliate partners in each of the three grand divisions of the state.
Currently, 53 percent of all Tennessee children from birth to age five are registered in the Imagination Library and receive free books in the mail every month. More than 213,000 Tennessee 5-year-olds have already “graduated” from the program. The statewide program has helped deliver more than 13 million books to Tennessee children since the creation of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation in 2004.