TDOE Launches Reading 360 Early Literacy Network, Opens Registration for Reading 360 Virtual Summit

Thursday, July 29, 2021 | 09:09am


Strengthening Districts’ & Educators’ Ability to Provide High-Quality Literacy Instruction


NASHVILLE, TN— Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced 92 school districts will be participating in the Reading 360 Early Literacy Network and opened registration for the Reading 360 Virtual Summit this September.

"Tennessee is deeply committed to building strong reading skills in our youngest students, and Reading 360 has already reached 50,000+ families through free, at-home reading resources and 9,000+ Tennessee educators through summer literacy trainings,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “With over half of our school districts participating in the Early Literacy Network and 1,500 seats for Tennesseans to attend the Reading 360 Summit, our state can delve more deeply into this collaborative work-- all for the benefit of our students.”

Representing more than half of school districts statewide, 92 Tennessee school districts will be participating in the Reading 360 Early Literacy Network to engage in regional communities of practice and receive access to a series of advanced learning modules that teachers can view at their own pace. 

Districts participating in the network received grant awards of $80,000 to provide direct district support for teachers and leaders for the implementation of sounds-first instruction in Pre-K–2 grades. The work of the network will begin in August 2021, with participating districts engaging in regional communities of practice and gaining access to optional, asynchronous monthly trainings to provide support for school and district leaders to continue to advance the implementation of foundational literacy skills instruction. 

View the list of districts participating in the Early Literacy Network here.

The Reading 360 Virtual Summit, taking place September 21-23, 2021, is free and open to all Tennessee educators, district and school leaders, higher education partners, and education stakeholders, and will highlight best practices for the Reading 360 comprehensive literacy initiative. Featuring six roundtable sessions with national literacy experts and Tennessee educators and breakout sessions that will further dive into the topics highlighted during the roundtable discussions, the summit will focus on foundational literacy skills instruction, high-quality materials implementation, family-community partnerships, and educator preparation. There is also a special track of sessions for districts participating in the Early Literacy Network.  

Registration for the summit is first-come, first-served and is limited to 1,500 virtual seats. View the agenda here, and register for the summit here.

District leaders shared their excitement for the Early Literacy Network and the Reading 360 Virtual Summit below.

“Bedford County Schools is elated to strategically partner with the Tennessee Department of Education's Early Literacy Network to increase early literacy success for our youngest learners,” said Dr. Tammy Garrett, Director of Schools, Bedford County. “Our membership with the Early Literacy Network will provide continued opportunities for our teachers and students.  We are committed to moving the needle for our students under the leadership of the TDOE.” 

“Tennessee has a bold vision for literacy where all children will read proficiently,” said Joey Hassell, Director of Schools, Haywood County Schools. “Our district is excited to have the opportunity to participate in the Reading 360 summit where we will learn and share with other district and school leaders across Tennessee about what works in literacy.”  

“Lebanon Special School District is super excited to engage with the TDOE and the Early Literacy Network to provide additional supports for our teachers and students in the implementation of the foundational skills of literacy in our district,” said Scott Benson, Director of Schools, Lebanon Special School District. “We can’t wait to see the impact this partnership will have on our students!” 

“Lenoir City Schools is honored to participate in the Reading 360 Summit and have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues regarding promising practices for serving our students,” said Millicent Smith, Supervisor of Instructional Services, Lenoir City Schools. “Literacy instruction is a cornerstone of our work and we are proud to share our experiences implementing high-quality instructional experiences as well as learn from others so we can provide the best possible learning experiences for our students.” 

Districts interested in joining the Early Literacy Network may reach out to the department for more information.

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. Components of the Reading 360 initiative are funded with federal COVID-19 relief and stimulus funding. To access additional resources on Reading 360, click here.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact