TDOE Emphasizes Reading with S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments at Home for Tennessee Families

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | 02:27pm


Fun, Engaging & Easy Reading Activities with Riley the Reading Raccoon

Nashville, TN— In continued celebration of March Literacy Month, the Tennessee Department of Education is emphasizing how families play an essential role in their student’s literacy development and can get involved with the S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments at-home literacy campaign with Riley the Reading Raccoon.  

During March Literacy Month, the department will continue to share ways families can support learning at home with sounds-first reading tips, “Getting Ready to Read” backpacks, and family literacy events across the state. Follow #TNReadingforAll and #ReadLikeRiley on social media for regular updates.

“In Tennessee, we want to equip our Tennessee families with resources to support their student’s reading development and comprehension at a young age because we know parents and families are a child’s first teacher,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. "As we continue to celebrate March Literacy Month, we hope these S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments will help families create strong at-home reading moments and that our young learners will enjoy the ‘Getting Ready to Read’ backpacks with fun, engaging resources to start reading early.”

Launched in December 2021, 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 playing, modeling, listening, and learning about sounds together 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.

– 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.

“At Martha O’Bryan Center, we are intensely focused on reading, both fluency and comprehension.  Reading is not just essential for a productive life but reading brings joy, comfort and wonder throughout life,” said Marsha Edwards, CEO, Martha O'Bryan Center. “We are grateful for the leadership of the TDOE and their focus on reading this month and throughout the year.”

In honor of March Literacy Month, the department is hosting 12 family literacy events across the state to distribute 5,000 “Getting Ready to Read” backpacks, which include books provided by the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation and additional reading resources for young learners. Throughout the remainder of the 2021-22 school year, the department will be hosting additional family literacy events to give out additional backpacks.

“Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) is proud to support TDOE’s Getting Ready to Read initiative to raise awareness of the importance of reading and our mission to strengthen early literacy statewide,” said James Pond, President, GELF. “A child’s literacy journey starts before they enter the classroom, and it’s vital that we come together to support our youngest learners, from cradle to career. It’s more than books. It’s the future of Tennessee.”

As part of the S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments at-home literacy campaign, the department released the “Sounds First Approach” and “Modeling Moments” blogs, which include fun activities to help parents reinforce what their child is learning in school while giving them the additional practice they need to become better readers.  Additionally, the “Supporting Struggling Readers at Home” resource provides simple activities that focus on practicing with sounds and words while building fluency. Each activity has an attached Q.R. code that directs parents and families to a brief video to further equip parents and families with skills to implement these practice activities at home with their children.  

Earlier this month, the department announced the 99 districts who have been recognized as Reading 360 Districts for their commitment to teacher training, leader support networks, and focused work on early literacy. 

"It was an honor for Dr. Coons and her team to visit our district and receive the designation of being a Reading 360 district.  Her visit helps support our literacy initiatives in Pre-K," said Amy Clenney, FRC/VPK Director, Decatur County Schools. “The Pre-K parents learned valuable information and the students loved seeing Riley and getting their Ready to Read backpacks."   

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact