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Governor and First Lady Haslam Host KiDS' State Dinner

Event honors elementary students who won First Lady’s Statewide Summer Reading Competition


NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam welcomed approximately 100 children to a Kids’ State Dinner at the Tennessee Residence on Friday 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 Tennessee libraries, rising kindergarten through rising fourth grade students were challenged to track their number of minutes spent reading over the summer. Winners were chosen based on a number of criteria including age, grade-level, region and number of minutes read during the eligibility period.


Upon arriving to the Tennessee Residence via a special red carpet, honorees enjoyed dinner, games, a photo booth, musical entertainment from local children’s performer, Mr. Steve, the Music Man and a visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog.


“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 this evening’s event with goodie bags, certificates signed by Governor and First Lady Haslam, as well as new books to read at home thanks to a generous donation from Scholastic.


For more information about the Tennessee Residence or the First Lady’s early literacy initiative, visit