TDOE Announces Stipends for More Tennessee Teachers for Summer Early Reading Training

Thursday, April 22, 2021 | 11:27am


Trainings Prepare Tennessee Teachers for Implementing Phonics-Based Approach when Teaching Students How to Read


Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced that $1,000 stipends for completion of the two-week Early Reading Training will now be available to fifth grade classroom teachers, special education teachers and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers—in addition to kindergarten through 4th grade classroom, special education, and ESL teachers— expanding the number of teachers who are eligible to receive stipends for completing this critical reading training this summer.

Part of the state’s Reading 360 initiative to help boost strong reading skills amongst Tennessee students, the two-week Early Reading Training is a free and optional opportunity open to any educator supporting foundational literacy instruction in grades pre-K through 5. The goal of this training opportunity is to ensure that any Tennessee educator who helps young children learn how to read will have access to the latest research, implications for instruction, and practical tools to show them how to apply new learning.

"Becoming a strong reader by 3rd grade is a critical milestone in a student’s academic journey, and in Tennessee, we are focusing on ensuring students who are still developing reading skills have strong supports, including excellent reading instruction,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “By providing kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and now 5th grade teachers a $1,000 stipend for completing the department’s Early Reading Training, Tennessee teachers will be compensated for their professional development, and more students will benefit from strong phonics-based instruction when learning how to read.” 

While the training is provided by the department free of charge for any Tennessee teacher for grades pre-K through 5, teachers must register for the trainings through their district. Kindergarten through 5th grade teachers will be eligible for $1,000 stipends, and K through 2 teachers will also receive “classroom kits” of fun and engaging materials to utilize in their classrooms. The deadline to register for the trainings in ePlan is May 5.

Week one training will be available this month as an online, asynchronous learning experience through Best for All Central, and week two training will be offered in-person over the course of the summer. Click here for the Early Reading Training Course Overview.

“As Director of Schools of a small system in East Tennessee, it is with pride and excitement that we received the news regarding our K-5 teachers being trained in literacy foundation,” said Dr. Mike Frazier, Director of Schools, Etowah City Schools. “This training will be this summer and all of our teachers will receive a stipend for their participation. We are appreciative to Commissioner Penny Schwinn and her cabinet members for hearing our voices as Directors and bringing to fruition the stipend for our K-5 teachers across this great State of Tennessee.” 

Reading 360 is a comprehensive statewide literacy initiative to provide optional grants and resources to help more Tennessee students develop strong phonics-based reading skills by supporting districts, teachers, and families. 

To launch Reading 360 and invest in optional reading resources and supports at no cost to the state or districts, the state is leveraging approximately $60 million of one-time federal COVID-19 relief funding and $40 million in federal grant funding. 

To access additional resources on Reading 360, click here.   

For additional information on the department’s COVID-19 and school reopening related resources, please visit For additional information, For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact