Thousands Of Tennessee Families, Teachers Benefit From Literacy Initiative

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Published May 27, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

The Tennessee Department of Education said on Wednesday that they have been able to provide reading training, support, and resources to thousands of families and teachers across the state in an effort to increase literacy rates in students.

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

These resources are part of the Reading 360 initiative, which aims to boost student literacy statewide. The Department of Education will be providing a two-week-long Early Reading Training for teachers and they have implemented an Early Literacy Network across several school districts.

Recently, the department introduced an At-Home Decodable Book Series for students in preschool through second grade, and a blog to encompass the efforts of the entire initiative. Almost 45,000 Decodable packs have already been ordered.

Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said, “It’s incredible to see our districts, educators, families, and communities come together to help our children master foundational literacy skills being taught at school and at home. Reading proficiently is the building block of a quality education, and I am so thankful for and proud of Tennessee’s commitment to early literacy and recognizing the responsibility we all have to this essential work.”

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Over 11,000 Tennessee teachers have already registered for the Early Reading Program. The two-week training will teach them to apply new resources and tools in their classrooms when it comes to literacy. They will learn about instruction, as well as recent research.

Teachers who participate will be given “classroom kits” and a $1,000 stipend to use in their classes. The Week One training is currently being offered online and over three thousand teachers have already completed it.

School and district leaders, educators, and elected officials have recently spoken out about the benefits that have come from the Reading 360 initiative.

Mark White, the House Education Administration Committee Chairman, said, “Tennessee’s Department of Education’s continued focus on reading literacy is vital to the continued success of Tennessee Students. Reading opens the world to a child and offers hope for a bright future.”

“This is very good news as we reach a new milestone that will have lifelong benefits for Tennessee students. High-quality reading programs and teacher preparation are essential to ensuring a pipeline of learners who stay in school and achieve educational success. I look forward to seeing great student progress moving forward as a result of these efforts,” Senate Education Committee Chairman, Brian Kelsey, said.

Lauren Wilson, the assistant principal for Jack Anderson Elementary in Sumner County, believes the changes in classrooms are obvious.

She said, “I’m so grateful that we have Reading 360 and that the state of Tennessee understands the need for a program like this… It’s working. You will see changes in your classroom, students having conversation at such a young age about vocabulary, making connections.”

“Tennessee remains laser-focused on literacy,” House Education Instruction Subcommittee Chairman, Scott Cepicky, said. “The efforts being made to put books in parents’ hands and teacher training will move our state to be educational leaders in our country. All the hard work we are putting in now will lead to more literate students in the future.”

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