KPD Kicks Off Literacy Initiative for Children

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

KPD Kicks Off Literacy Initiative for Children

Posted: 06/29/2016
New KPD Reading ProgramKnoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Police Chief David Rausch today announced a new reading initiative targeting at-risk youth through positive community engagement with KPD officers.  The ‘If you READ you CAN BE…’ program will pair officers with children who are falling behind in their reading ability.  

Research has shown that children who fail to achieve basic literacy skills are more likely to not graduate school.  They are also more likely to engage in disruptive and delinquent behavior.  In addition, they have a higher engagement in gang related activity.  

Adults who have failed to achieve basic literacy skills are more likely to engage in criminal behavior, more likely to be apprehended for criminal behavior, and have a higher likelihood of spending time in prison for criminal behavior.  These adults also have higher recidivism rates than adults who have basic literacy skills.  

The goals of the ‘If you READ you CAN BE…’ program goes beyond just helping at-risk youth with reading.  The program is designed to build upon positive relations between the community and law enforcement.  The program will also help foster interaction between youth and adult caregivers while encouraging independent reading outside of the officer/youth engagement.

Ultimately, this collaboration will develop the basic literacy skills among at-risk youth, which will reduce their chances of turning to crime as an adult.  

Chief Rausch said, “Literacy is a crucial life skill in a society saturated with information.  The ability to read, process and integrate the information is a necessity to manage your personal and professional life successfully.” 

To kelp kick off ‘If you READ you CAN BE…’ the department has teamed up with several community partners who have committed their support for the program.  The Emerald Youth Foundation, Wesley House, the Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, the Junior League of Knoxville, the First Tee of Greater Knoxville, the Knox County Public Library, Books-A-Million and Target.  

With the support of these partner agencies, these children will get one-on-one attention that will help build a solid foundation that will last them a lifetime.  In addition, the kids will be rewarded for their efforts along the way even earing the opportunity to be chief for a day.
 
“This is a great initiative by Chief Rausch and his officers,” Mayor Madeline Rogero said. 

“Early reading skills are essential to success later in life.  For children who are struggling, it will mean a great deal for a KPD officer to sit down with them regularly and make reading fun and inviting rather than intimidating,” Mayor Rogero concluded. 

New KPD Reading Program