When I was young, I remember participating in the Chicago Public Library reading program. I’d go to the library with my mom and sisters and give mini-book reports on what I had read that week, participate in different literary events for kids, and then pile half the library’s Nancy Drew books into my blue wagon and cart them home.

Now, instead of a blue wagon, I pile books into my digital Amazon cart and impatiently await their arrival at my doorstep. What I’m trying to say is, summer reading programs make a huge difference.

ReadingBlog2This summer, as part of the Read to Be Ready initiative, the Tennessee Department of Education is offering summer reading program grants, ranging from $5,000 to $30,000. Schools, districts, non-profits, and even individuals can apply for this grant, if their program provides rich reading and writing opportunities for students who have just finished the first, second, or third grade.

Applications are due on Friday, April 22 by 5:00 p.m. CDT, and applicants will be notified of their status no later than Monday, May 2. For more details and the application documents, go to the Tennessee Department of Education’s Read to be Ready Summer Grants webpage.

Summer reading programs gave my sisters and me a jump start into reading. As we scoured hundreds of books over the course of our summers, we were developing a large vocabulary, increasing our reading comprehension, and learning new things.

We were not the only ones positively impacted by reading programs. Summer reading programs make a difference in the lives of so many students, especially young readers.

Please share this opportunity with others and apply if you qualify.