Tennessee first lady Crissy Haslam reads to third-grade students at Johnson Elementary Thursday. David Grace photo.
KINGSPORT — The focus was all on reading Thursday in Sullivan County and Kingsport.
Tennessee first lady Crissy Haslam helped kick off United WE READ, a program of the United Way of Greater Kingsport.
It is a collaborative partnership seeking to have all Kingsport and Sullivan County school system third-graders reading proficient or advanced on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program test by 2018.
In Tennessee, the most recent statistics show 46 percent of third-graders are at least proficient in reading, compared to 50.8 percent in a combination of Kingsport and Sullivan County.
Haslam also promoted reading initiatives she had helped spearhead. After the kickoff event at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education, the first lady went to Johnson Elementary in Kingsport and Ketron Elementary in Bloomingdale to read to students.
“United WE READ is a tremendous initiative,” the first lady told a group of more than 50 gathered at the KCHE. “I”ll come back when you reach that (goal) in 2018 if I’m still first lady.”
For more information on United WE READ, go to www.uwaykpt.org.
Read more of this story in Friday's print edition of the Times-News, or the expanded electronic edition.