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Mount Carmel fourth-grader honored as avid reader by governor, first lady

Jeff Bobo • Sep 18, 2018 at 6:00 PM

MOUNT CARMEL — Reading can take children to places they never imagined, including Nashville, where one Mount Carmel fourth-grader's extensive reading record landed him an audience with Tennessee's governor and first lady.

Last month, Mount Carmel Elementary student Issac Jennings was selected to attend the second annual Kids' State Dinner at the Tennessee Residence.

The event honored avid readers who participated in First Lady Crissy Haslam's Statewide Summer Reading Competition.

You had to read 2,000 minutes this summer to be eligible for a drawing to attend, and Issac put in 2,305 minutes.

How were the children honored?

On Aug. 13, Issac and Tennessee's other top readers were greeted by Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam, who welcomed approximately 100 children with a red carpet arrival.

They had dinner with the governor and first lady, played games, toured the residence and posed for a photo with the Haslams.

All attendees left the evening with goodie bags, certificates and some new books.

"I had a great time and thought it was neat meeting the first lady", Issac said. "It was also nice for my dad to be able to go with me."

The first lady’s Statewide Summer Reading Competition

With help from the Tennessee State Library and Archives and local libraries across the state, rising kindergarteners through rising fourth-grade students were challenged to track the number of minutes spent reading over the summer.

Competition winners were chosen by a lottery drawing. Students were considered eligible for the drawing if they read at least 2,000 minutes during the competition period.

"Reading over the summer is incredibly important so that students retain the skills they’ve developed during the year instead of experiencing summer slide," Crissy Haslam said. "We decided to hold this competition to encourage Tennessee students and their families to read more together over the summer and to incite them to visit their local libraries, so tonight has been a wonderful way to honor those who did just that."

In addition to the fun festivities, the Haslams congratulated the winners and asked children and their families to continue to read together at least 20 minutes each day.

Issac’s hard work pays off

Apparently all that reading is paying other dividends as well because on Sept. 7 Isaac won MCES's fourth-grade spelling bee.

Isaac will now participate in the Hawkins County District Spelling Bee, competing for a chance at the county, state and national title.

He is the son of Jonathan and Lindsay Jennings.

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