TDOE Announces Winter Literacy Campaign for Tennessee Families: S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments at Home with Riley the Reading Raccoon

Wednesday, December 08, 2021 | 02:35pm


Nashville, TN — Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the launch of a Reading 360 winter family literacy campaign— S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments At Home, Reading with Riley the Raccoon. Throughout the winter months, the department will be sharing on social media ways families can continue learning at home over the winter break and how they can create special sounds-first reading moments with their children. Follow #ReadLikeRiley on social media for regular updates.

The S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments at-home literacy campaign will use a social media strategy to provide quick and easy at-home activities to play with sounds. Through daily messages, "Talk with an Expert” hour, and a wealth of additional resources, the department looks forward to partnering with families to ensure they have what they need to support their child’s reading journey through S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments with Riley the Reading Raccoon

“A child’s family is their first teacher, and we want to empower our Tennessee families with resources to support their child’s learning and reading comprehension at an early age,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. "We hope the S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments campaign will help families create strong at-home moments that will ensure their child is ready to learn to read, especially with the help of our special friend Riley. Thank you to all the families who have and continue to work with their children each day to set them up for reading success.”

S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments aims to help families create research-based daily sounds-first experiences that will set their child on a path toward successful reading while in the classroom and the future. Using a sounds first approach, S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments encourages families to spend just a few minutes each day focusing on reading with their child with the help of Riley the Reading Raccoon.

S.I.M.P.L.E. stands for: 

S - Focus on hearing and playing with sounds to create pre-reading experiences.

- Stay informed on ways to support your child.

M – Use the shared resources as a model for playing and talking with your child.

P - Play games at home that involve sounds and words. 

L- Spend time listening and learning with your child. 

EEngage in opportunities to learn will best prepare your child for school.

Beginning Friday, December 10, families can engage with the department through weekly “Talk with an Expert” hour-long sessions on Fridays from 11-12 p.m. CT. Families can use a computer or mobile app to join the meeting during the 11-12 p.m. CT hour each Friday. 

Families can also tune in and take advantage of the department’s ongoing partnership with the state’s six PBS stations, which are currently airing Starting with Sounds episodes, featuring local and national celebrities reading books and singing songs to promote the importance of reading in an engaging and fun way.

“Jackson County Schools is excited about the new SIMPLE Moments strategy that continues to promote family engagement in Early Literacy,” said Kristy Brown, Director of Schools, Jackson County Schools. “The resources offered by the Tennessee Department of Education will make it easier than ever for our families to find high quality materials and activities to make learning to read fun and interactive.” 

“Tennessee PBS is excited to support this winter reading campaign with the Tennessee Department of Education. We recognize the importance of parents practicing these SIMPLE moments with their children, that will lead to their success in school and in life,” said Becky Magura, President and CEO, Nashville Public Television. “As part of your winter activities, look for the Starting with Sounds videos on your Tennessee PBS station. We are truly grateful to the many artists who are sharing their time and talent for Tennessee’s children!”    

“Lebanon Special School District appreciates the literacy support provided by the Department of Education for students and families with the SIMPLE Moments Campaign,” said Scott Benson, Director of Schools, Lebanon Special School District. “The early literacy home resources are family-friendly and simple to use while supporting the sounds-first approach. This partnership with families is important for helping young students achieve reading success.”

“Cumberland County is thrilled about the SIMPLE Moments Campaign focused on Early Literacy,” said Dr. Ina Maxwell, Director of Schools, Cumberland County Schools. “Families play a critical role in fostering a love for reading at an early age. The resources provided by the Tennessee Department of Education will ensure that families have access to strategies to engage their young learners in literacy.” 

The At-Home Decodable Book Series is available for free for all Tennessee families of K-2 children. Learn more here and order here. If you need information about your previously ordered decodables, email

Additionally, the department has released recordings of the sessions from the Reading 360 Virtual Summit held in September, which can be found here.

In the new year, Riley the Reading Raccoon will be traveling to districts and schools across the state. Riley, the department's Reading 360 mascot, was introduced back in September during Tennessee Literacy Month.

To learn more about the state’s comprehensive vision for Tennessee literacy, Reading 360, click here.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact