Reading 360: Tackling Tennessee’s Literacy Crisis

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only a third of Tennessee’s 3rd graders were reading on grade level. That’s projected to have worsened because of interruptions to education resulting from the pandemic.

To help tackle this crisis, the Tennessee Department of Education announced on January 4th that they will spend $100 million on a new initiative called “Reading 360” to help teachers, districts and parents support struggling readers. 

Read more about it in The Tennessean.

The Reading 360 will leverage approximately $60 million of one-time federal COVID-19 relief funding and $40 million in federal grant funding to provide optional grants and resources to help more early and middle grade students develop strong phonics-based reading skills.

The effort will provide optional training and materials to teachers, and resources so districts can collaborate on how best to teach children to read. The program will also include resources for parents and guardians, like the new “Ready4K” text-messaging program that sends daily learning tips to parents of students in grades pre-K through 3. 

The initiative has 8 major components which will be optional and provided at no cost for teachers, districts and families. Those include:

  • Training & Coaching – Provide additional support for both teachers in classrooms and future teachers around literacy instruction.
  • Implementation Networks– Establish and fund regional district networks focused on literacy and high quality materials.
  • Online Tool – Feature video-based lessons, teacher implementation supports, at-home family reading resources, and leader guidance documents.
  • Connected Literacy – Provide 13,000+ students and their families with micro-grants for early literacy tutoring.
  • Educator and Leader Preparation Innovations – Support for educator and leader preparation providers in developing new courses and content.
  • CORE supports – Provide district leaders with support for implementation and establishment of systems across 8 CORE regions.
  • Assessment of Literacy — Connect teachers, leaders, and parents to resources, tools, and data using early grade literacy screener and information system.
  • Public Awareness Campaign — Build and foster partnerships across the state to elevate awareness and promote broader engagement.

You can find more details about Reading 360 HERE.  We especially liked and thought you’d appreciate this graphic that is a great summary reminder of why reading by 3rd grade is so important.

We’re excited about this new treasure trove of resources to support struggling early learners, their teachers and parents, and applaud the TDOE team for the terrific work in developing and launching Reading 360.

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