A Love of Reading Led Heritage Elementary Student to Governor’s Dinner

Presley McIntyre

Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam welcomed approximately
100 children to the second annual Kids’ State Dinner at the Tennessee Residence last week to celebrate outstanding achievement in summer reading.

The event honored avid readers who participated in the First Lady’s Statewide Summer Reading Competition. With help from the Tennessee State Library and Archives as well as local libraries across the state, rising kindergarten through rising fourth-grade students were challenged to track their number of minutes spent reading over the summer. Competition winners were chosen by a lottery drawing; students were considered eligible for the drawing if they read at least 2,000 minutes during the competition period. Students received an extra entry into the lottery for every 1,000 minutes they read over the original 2,000 qualifying minutes. The option for additional entries incentivized spending more time reading over the competition period.

One local student, Presley McIntyre, who is currently a third-grader at Heritage Elementary took part in the reading program. Her mother, Melissa was searching for summer activities and found the reading program on a website. Melissa McIntyre described how delighted she was that Presley was part of the special occasion saying,“We were so excited for Presley and so glad shewas being recognized for her hard work.”

Upon arriving to the Tennessee Residence on a special red carpet, honorees enjoyed dinner,
games, a tour of the Residence, a photo with Governor and First Lady Haslam, and musical
entertainment from local children’s performer, Mr. Steve, the Music Man.

Presley recalls the occasion by saying,“It was amazing! The Governor was so kind to let us in his mansion. It was a really awesome experience!”

“Reading over the summer is incredibly important so that students retain the skills they’ve
developed during the year instead of experiencing summer slide,” Mrs. Haslam said. “We
decided to hold this competition to encourage Tennessee students and their families to read more together over the summer and to incite them to visit their local libraries, so tonight has been a wonderful way to honor those who did just that.”

In addition to the fun festivities, Governor and First Lady Haslam congratulated the winners and asked children and their families to continue to read together at least 20 minutes each day. The First Lady’s Read20 message is part of her initiative to encourage children and their families to prepare for future success by ensuring strong foundations in early literacy.
Children left the event with goodie bags, certificates signed by Governor and First Lady Haslam, as well as new books to read at home.

For more information about the Tennessee Residence or the First Lady’s early literacy initiative, visit www.tn.gov/firstlady.