The Tennessee Valley
News and Events
Signs of the times Read with your child
The word is getting out – “Read with your child 20 minutes per day!” Through the efforts of the Children’s Reading Foundation and the Kingston Rotary Club, this message is being read all over Roane County.
To start, large colorful banners announcing, “Read with your child. It’s the most important 20 minutes of your day” were placed at key intersections and locations in Roane County where residents could not help be see them. We also placed a couple of the banners at elementary schools. Then we started receiving calls from the other elementary schools asking for a banner for their parents to read at their school.
The banners are big, colorful, and costly, too. We weren’t sure how we could afford the additional banners.
The Kingston Rotary Club came to the rescue and paid for twelve additional banners for the other elementary schools.
We wanted more places throughout the county where parents would read this important message. We designed a smaller, more affordable sign which read, “Read with your child 20 minutes a day.” Even with the smaller sign, one-hundred signs are still expensive.
The Rotarians again came to the rescue and purchased one-hundred of the new signs and their members placed them throughout the county. Now, after having the signs up for a few months, it’s very difficult to find someone in Roane County who hasn’t read the sign.
The Kingston Rotary Club has support educational efforts in Roane County for many years. Their support of the Reading Foundation is just one of many ways Rotarians show their care for our community and its youth.
Thank you, Rotarians!
Reading favorite books to children
When the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Tennessee Valley participates in community events, we usually have a drawing to give away free children’s books. As a part of the free drawing entry, we ask parents to name their children’s favorite books.
Without fail, books in the Llama llama series by Anna Dewdney are frequently listed as favorite books. So, we were not surprised when we recently received a photograph of a parent reading “Llama llama red pajama” to her two children. Another series of books that often appears as favorites are those by Dr. Seuss.
This started us thinking about what books did our grandparents read to our parents when they were children? We recently learned of at least one book that answered our question, The Perhappsy Chaps, written in 1918 by Ruth Plumly Thompson and illustrated by Arthur Henderson.
How do we know about The Perhappsy Chaps book? From another photograph of a parent reading to a child. Okay, the parent in this picture has stopped reading, both father and son have fallen asleep. The parent in this photograph is James M. Leitnaker, President of the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Tennessee Valley. He has never lost his interest and excitement in reading books to children.
One more tidbit of information. Thompson was also the author of a favorite series of children's books, twenty-one of the Oz books, which she wrote after Frank Baum passed away. Thompson’s Oz books, starting with The Royal Book of Oz published in 1921 and ending with The Enchanted Island of Oz in 1976.
TN First Lady launches book club - Read20
Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam has launched the Read20 Family Book Club to promote early literacy and parental engagement in their children's academic lives.
To encourage families to read 20 minutes each day this summer, a book will be featured as the "Book of the Month" on the First Lady's Read20 Family Book Club website www.tn.gov/read20, where children and families of all ages can participate and acess fun, family engagement ideas, reading activities and tips.
"I am very excited to launch the Read20 Family Book Club," Haslam said. "Families reading together build a foundation for strong relationships and academic success for our Tennessee students."
Haslam selected Frindle by Andrew Clements as the featured June's "Book of the Month."
Frindle is a story about a boy named Nicholas who encounters all kinds of adventures after creating a new name for the pen: "Frindle."
"I think children and families will enjoy the imagination and creativity of the main character in Frindle," Haslam said.
Donate Your Used Children's Books!
The ORNL Federal Credit Union in Kingston has teamed up with the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Tennessee Valley to collect and “recycle” used children’s books. Put needed books into the hands of Roane County children and their parents by dropping off your used children’s books at the ORNL FCU at 1204 North Kentucky Street in Kingston.
Pictured with some of the books donated by the credit union’s customers are, in the front row, Debbie Hankins, Tiffany Tilley, Eleda Burgess, and Judy Long of ORNL FCU; and in the back row, Jim Leitnaker and Ralph Best of the Children’s Reading Foundation.
Reading Foundation a Big Hit at October Sky Festival
The Children’s Reading Foundation of the Tennessee Valley was a big hit at the October Sky Festival in Oliver Springs on October 22, 2011.
“Parents were bringing their children of all ages to talk about how much they enjoyed reading to their children” said Allen Lutz, a member of the Reading Foundation at the festival in Oliver Springs. “We had grandparents telling stories about reading to their children, as their children, now parents, talked about reading to their children.”
With so many parents visiting the Reading Foundation tent, it was a good thing three students from the Tennessee Technology Center at Harriman volunteered to work in the tent. The students, Brandi Beckner, Amber Lowe and Rachel Jones, are parents with their own young children.
In a letter to the student volunteers, James Leitnaker, President of the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Tennessee Valley, wrote, “You clearly showed your support for the Reading Foundation’s message of ‘read to a child for twenty minutes every day’ in your actions and enthusiastic attitude. Because of your efforts, the parents of 159 children know that, when it comes to preparing a child to begin learning to read, parents make the difference!”
One of those 159 children became the third winner of a $50 U.S. Savings Bond in a free drawing sponsored by the Reading Foundation. Ethan Craig, three year old son of Amanda Craig from Oliver Springs, was the savings bond winner.
In addition to telling parents about the importance of reading to children, the student volunteers collected twenty-four new enrollments for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The children enrolled are from Anderson, Monroe, Morgan and Roane Counties.
The Roane Imagination Library also contributed twenty-five books that were given to children as a separate drawing. "The Children's Reading Foundation and Roane Imagination Library are working toward the same objective," said Jill McMaster, Roane Imagination Library coordinator, "instilling in children a love of reading and books."