Tennessee Titans Rookies Make Community Debut with Story Time in Support of Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation

June 21, 2021

Tennessee Titans 2021 rookies join Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation and the Nashville Public Library Bordeaux Branch for “Titans Rookies Read” story time, in support of summer reading to combat learning loss

June 21, 2021, Nashville, Tenn. — To combat learning loss and encourage summer reading in Tennessee, the Tennessee Titans 2021 rookie class joins Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) and Nashville Public Library for “Titans Rookies Read” story time event at the Nashville Public Library Bordeaux Branch on Monday, June 21.

In support of GELF’s “Stop the Slide!” summer reading campaign, James Pond, president of GELF, was joined by Burke Nihill, president and CEO of the Titans, T-Rac and the 2021 Titans rookies for story time and a Q&A with children on their favorite books and reading habits. Players read a book from Coach Mike Vrabel’s “Hog Mollies” children’s book series and talked about their experiences with reading to encourage children in attendance.

“Our mission means more than books. We faced one of the most challenging seasons in history, but as Tennesseans do, we team up to support our children and families. Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation equips children with books and innovative tools that encourage lifelong learning. 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.”

James Pond, president of GELF

“In football, there is no summer break, for rookie players or veterans. The same is true for reading and learning. The offseason is a time for practice and growth, sharpening skills and building strengths. GELF is strengthening early literacy in our state by building lifelong learners. We are thrilled to join their efforts to “Stop the Slide!” of learning loss, and we encourage all Tennessee children to practice with us this offseason by continuing to read and learn over the summer.”          

Burke Nihill, president and CEO of the Tennessee Titans.

“We all know how important reading is, and to have our Nashville heroes on the Titans join us to set the example for our kids is just wonderful. It’s been a real privilege to partner with the Tennessee Titans and the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation to host this event.”

Kent Oliver, director of Nashville Public Library

This community event celebrates the Titans’ support of GELF’s mission to strengthen early literacy in Tennessee by promoting a summer of active young readers to combat the proverbial “summer slide,” a term used to describe the learning loss that students can experience when out of school, a dynamic compounded by several months of remote learning during the academic year.

Thirty-three percent of Tennessee third graders read proficiently. 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 the “summer slide.” Tennessee Department of Education and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee previously shared data that third grade reading proficiency is expected to drop by more than 50% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic preventing in-person learning at school.

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 21 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, visit GovernorsFoundation.org.

About Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF)
Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) equips Tennessee’s children with books and innovative literacy tools that encourage lifelong learning for a brighter future. GELF is a nonpartisan 501c3 driven by a mission to strengthen early literacy in Tennessee by acting as a thought leader, advisor, and catalyst for programs across the state. These programs include Birth-5 Book Delivery through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, K-3 Book Delivery, Caregiver Engagement, Book Buses, and Storybook Trails. GELF was founded in 2004 by former Gov. Phil Bredesen as a public-private partnership to sustain Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Tennessee. GELF has grown from solely a book-gifting program to an early literacy organization driven by a vision where all Tennessee children have access to the resources, guidance, and support they need to become lifelong learners.For more information, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org or www.facebook.com/GovEarlyLiteracyTN, or call toll-free at (877) 99-BOOKS.