Tennessee Titans, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation Co-host Annual ‘Rookies Read’ Event at Nashville Public Library


June 23 2022

Nashville, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans and Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) recently partnered to host the annual ‘Rookies Read’ event for local children at  Nashville Public Library’s Looby Branch Library. The event aims to encourage young learners to ‘Stop the Slide’ during the summer and keep their brains active by reading. Representatives from GELF joined Titans rookies and leadership to share their favorite books and a special storytime for the kids.

The event featured remarks from James Pond, GELF president, as well as Titans Senior Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Adolpho Birch III. Titans rookies talked about their favorite children’s books and provided storytime, followed by a Q&A with the kids in attendance. 

“The Titans organization is always looking for ways to better advocate for the youth in our community. Knowing literacy is the window to so many opportunities in life, we are proud to continually support the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation,” said Adolpho Birch III, Titans Senior Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Legal Officer. “Our rookies serve as excellent role models for young Titans fans, so we hope hearing their stories about reading will encourage these kids to keep learning throughout the summer.”

Third grade reading proficiency is the benchmark where children transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” and is a key indicator for a child’s future educational success and workforce readiness. A student not reading at his or her grade level by the end of the 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate high school on time. Research shows that two to three months of proficiency is lost for students who do not read over the summer, but reading four to six books has the potential to stop, mitigate, or reverse this “summer slide.”

The ‘Rookies Read’ event aims to support GELF’s “Stop the Slide!” summer reading campaign and K-3 Home Library program. The K-3 Home Library program was established to combat summer learning loss in Tennessee and better support in the home learning for students. Through this program, GELF delivered 970,000 books to teachers and students statewide this summer, including every rising first and second grader enrolled in a public school in Tennessee.

“At Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, we team up to equip Tennessee’s children with innovative tools to promote a culture of reading inside and outside of the classroom, on and off the field,” said James Pond, President of GELF. “We are grateful for the Titans’ support in joining us to encourage children to continue reading and learning over the summer. Let’s work together to ‘Stop the Slide!’ of learning loss. We all have a position to play in building a brighter future for our children. It’s more than books. It’s the future of Tennessee.”

“Children need reading role models. Our little readers and their families had a great time at Titans Rookies Read last year at NPL, and it was our privilege to welcome them back again this year,” said Kent Oliver, director of NPL.

To help “Stop the Slide!,” GELF encourages families to utilize their other statewide early literacy programs this summer as well as participate in their local library’s Summer Reading Challenge. GELF invites families to engage their children with over 30 Storybook Trails across the state. The Storybook Trails bring classic stories to life in outdoor settings that showcase Tennessee’s natural beauty, from Cheekwood in Nashville to Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns. GELF Book Buses will also be back in service this summer, bringing high quality literacy resources to children and communities. Tennesseans are encouraged to join GELF’s “Booker’s Book Club” on social media this summer by posting photos of their children reading with the hashtags #BookersBookClubTN #StoptheSlideTN. For more information, follow @GovEarlyLiteracyTN on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.