Tennessee First Lady visits Fayette County school for reading - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tennessee First Lady visits Fayette County school to promote literacy

(WMC-TV) - Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam was in West Tennessee Thursday to promote her statewide tour of literacy. 

Haslam received a rousing welcome from students at Northwest Elementary in Fayette County, where she visited to help promote the importance of reading. 

"Children learn to read through the third grade, and after that, they read to learn," Haslam said. "So if they're behind in the third grade, it makes it hard to progress through school."

Haslam began the morning speaking to the entire school. She then had breakfast with school staff and parents to discuss the importance of literacy.

Haslam voiced her support for the Read Twenty Initiative, which promotes reading every day for twenty minutes. 

"For children to read twenty minutes a day, for parents to read with their children twenty minutes a day," she said.

"When we see students reading and they're actually engaged and get lost in it, twenty minutes doesn't take any time at all," added Northwest principal Judi Sipowicz. 

After her visit with parents, the Haslam read to third graders. She also passed out brand new books to every Northwest Elementary student.

School leaders said the first lady's reading initiative will help them become better teachers.

"That we understand what the problems are, what the barriers are, and we move them forward," Sipowicz said.

Haslam chose ten Tennessee schools to be a part of her literacy campaign. Hamilton Elementary in Memphis, as well as schools in Dyersburg and Union City, are also a part of the program.

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