Tennessee Governor shines spotlight on early literacy
Gov. Bill Lee recently declared that March is "Literacy Month" in Tennessee and announced that his Administration will be placing continued emphasis on reading, particularly in the early grades.
“Throughout the month, we’re celebrating our continued commitment to literacy and the potential for every student to be a strong reader,” said Gov. Lee. “This year, we have the opportunity to invest in a reading strategy that reaches students starting in kindergarten through the third grade to prepare them for success in the classroom and beyond.”
Lee noted that his budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year includes $70 million to promote reading initiatives in grades K-3.
Lee also noted that his Department of Education is focused on reading and early literacy as a way to build a strong foundation for education at all ages.
In terms of specific initiatives:
Tennessee launched Reading 360 in 2021, offering optional grants and resources tailored to the needs of individual districts while providing support for teachers and families to help students develop strong phonics-based reading skills. Additionally, Tennessee implemented Tennessee Accelerated Literacy and Learning (ALL) Corps to provide ongoing tutoring for students throughout the school year.
The state has also announced a return to phonics-based reading instruction. According to state data cited by Lee, only 1 in 3 Tennessee students is reading at what the state determines as "grade level" by third grade. Lee says a focus on phonics in early years will help improve these numbers and ensure students are on-track with reading.
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