Press Releases

Tennesseans for Student Success Announces Tristar Reads & Tristar Reads Team Leader Program

NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success (TSS) recently kicked off their fifth annual statewide summer reading scholarship program, Tristar Reads. Through May, and during a time of social distancing, Tristar Reads featured Tennessee legislators reading a book aloud to students through their weekly newsletters and Facebook Live. Watch our friends in the legislature like House Education Chairman Mark White, Senator Bill Powers, and Representative Esther Helton read aloud on TSS’ YouTube Channel.

Additionally, for the first time, TSS launched the Tristar Reads Team Leader program. This program expands the summer reading scholarship program to include an opportunity for parents, teachers, librarians, high school students, and community leaders to outreach in their community, and it can be done all online. Team Leaders will be asked to recruit students to their team to read this summer. If Team Leaders succeed at recruiting new students to read, TSS will donate a percentage of funds to a literacy nonprofit, library, or school library in their community.

“Empowering leaders from across the state to take ownership and encourage students to read this summer is incredibly rewarding,” said Policy and Outreach Manager Jessica Whitmill. “As studies are emerging about the COVID-19 slide and the uncertainty around student improvement, Tristar Reads is an opportunity to help inspire students by preparing them for a successful future. With over 1000 hours logged by students thus far, I look forward to seeing the growth and interest in literacy continue this summer.”

“Now more than ever, we must continue to focus our efforts to help every child succeed during these uncertain times. While summer can be a time of relaxation and fun, learning and reading doesn’t have to stop,” said Communications Director Lani Short. “Tristar Reads is a fun way to promote reading all summer long while aiming to prevent learning loss through the impact of school closures this year. As students read and log their reading time, they will be in the running to win a college scholarship to set them up for a bright future ahead.”

Students, with parent supervision, are asked to visit and log the hours they read each week. At the end of the summer, Tennesseans for Student Success will award three $1000 scholarships to a student in elementary (K-5th grade), middle (6th-8th grade), and high school (9th-12th grade) who reads the most hours over the summer. Throughout the summer, guest readers, weekly challenges, and prizes will take place in our newsletter—register to read at and keep up with Tristar Reads on Twitter at @TristarReads.

To become a TSR Team Leader, register here. If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Whitmill at

Tristar Reads will run from May 1st – September 7th and is open to all Tennessee students. Please visit for rules of entry, suggested reading lists, and more information. ###

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