Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation Partners with 22 Organizations to Bring Book Buses to Communities Across Tennessee

2021 Book Bus Grantees

Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation awarded Book Bus Grants to 22 organizations to establish and support mobile libraries bringing literacy resources directly to children and families

In 2021, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF), in partnership with Delta Dental, awarded 22 Accelerate and Refuel grants to school districts and nonprofits across Tennessee. See below for a list of the 2021 Book Bus grantees.

Accelerate grantees received funding to assist their Summer 2022 Book Bus launch. Recipients will retrofit a decommissioned school bus with seating and shelving to house books and literacy resources, creating a learning space for children and families to enjoy. The buses will travel to under-resourced neighborhoods throughout the year, and educators lead reading workshops and provide families with resources and books.

Refuel grantees have served Tennessee families with a Book Bus for at least two years and received funding to support operational expenses and enhancements for Summer 2022.

According to the most recent Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) results, 68 percent of Tennessee third graders do not read proficiently, and during the summer months, students are especially at risk to lose their literacy skills. Also known as “Summer Slide,” research shows that two to three months of reading proficiency is lost for students who do not read over the summer, causing students to be less prepared for the upcoming school year. Reading four to six books has the potential to mitigate, stop, or even reverse “Summer Slide,” making the Book Bus program a critical intervention.

GELF launched its Book Bus program in 2018, in partnership with local school systems, to establish mobile libraries that provide children and communities with access to high-quality resources. Driven by a mission to strengthen early literacy in Tennessee, GELF’s Book Bus program aims to combat learning loss and support reading and learning in the home by providing families with continued access to books and literacy tools.

“We are very proud of the Book Bus program and are grateful for the local partners in every community, who make this initiative possible,” said James Pond, GELF President. “By bringing literacy tools and a learning space directly to Tennessee communities, we want to provide every child with the opportunity for a brighter future by experiencing the joy of reading and learning in their neighborhood.”

GELF opens the Accelerate and Refuel grant applications annually, and the next grant period will open in late May 2022 for buses launching or running in Summer 2023. Click here for more information about our grant opportunities; go here to locate a bus near you. If you have any questions, please email

Accelerate Recipients
Alcoa City Schools
Book’em (Davidson County)
Bristol City Schools
Cheatham County Schools
Decatur County Schools
Grundy County Schools
Hawkins County Schools
Haywood County Schools
Lebanon Special School District
Tipton County Schools
Union County Schools
White County Schools

Refuel Recipients
Bledsoe County Schools
Cannon County Schools
Elizabethton City Schools
Greene County Schools
Johnson County Schools
Let’s Read 20 (McMinn County)
Morgan County Schools
Putnam County Schools
Rhea County Schools
Washington County Schools

“Booker’s Book Bus Bash” Celebration

Local school systems joined Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation to celebrate the launch of Book Buses in their communities at “Booker’s Book Bus Bash” on Thursday, September 16. At the celebration, four of 18 partnering school systems showcased their buses at Rhea Central Elementary. Second grade students toured buses from Alcoa City Schools, Rhea County Schools, Bledsoe County Schools and Morgan County Schools while participating in literacy-focused activities.

Click here for more photos.