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#GetCaughtReading: Weeklong Campaign Encourages Reading for All Ages

Numerous studies show improved test scores and higher rates of graduation for children who are routinely read to as a child. (Brecken Pool/flickr)
Numerous studies show improved test scores and higher rates of graduation for children who are routinely read to as a child. (Brecken Pool/flickr)
September 17, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Governor's Books from Birth Foundation this week is urging people in Tennessee to take a picture of themselves reading.

Tennessee's Imagination Library Week is celebrating the program first piloted by singer Dolly Parton almost 30 years ago.

Now with programs in 49 states and several countries, the campaign to send children from birth to age five a new book once a month is changing lives, according to Dean Hoskins, vice president of the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation.

"Just by the virtue of having books in the home, children are more likely to succeed, not just as they enter kindergarten but at third-grade reading levels,” she states. “But also we have seen that parents do engage around books with their children when they are in the home."

Neighboring North Carolina just confirmed funding for a program modeled after Tennessee.

This week as part of the campaign, the state is encouraging people to take a picture of themselves reading and post it on social media with the hashtag #GetCaughtReading.

Hoskins says while the social media effort is a great way to increase public awareness, it's also about making sure reading is modeled for our younger generation.

"We want to raise awareness of how important it is for children to see adults in their lives and older siblings in their lives, reading, that reading is an integral part of everything that happens in family life," she stresses.

More than 1 million children have participated in the program. A state study in 2014 found increased school testing scores for children who received the free books, which are available to all, regardless of income.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN