Gov. Lee Celebrates ‘Read Across America’ Week, Literacy Month in Tennessee

Recognizes students, teachers for remarkable K-3rd grade reading proficiency gains
Wednesday, March 06, 2024 | 03:17pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee celebrated March 2-6 as Read Across America Week and proclaimed it Literacy Month in Tennessee, highlighting the Administration’s continued work to strengthen literacy and prepare young readers for success. Governor Lee partnered with the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation and Cheatham County School District to visit students and distribute books at Pleasant View Elementary School.

Additional photos from Gov. Lee’s visit at Pleasant View Elementary School can be found here.

“Tennessee students are leading the nation in reading proficiency gains thanks to our state’s strong K-3rd grade literacy strategy, and in the month of March, we’re recognizing our continued commitment to literacy,” said Gov. Lee. “I’m grateful to partner with the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, which is shaping the future of our state by fostering a love of reading in our youngest learners.”

Lee’s Fiscal Year 2024-25 budget proposal includes more than $33 million in state funding to continue prioritizing K-3 literacy programs to provide students with multiple pathways to becoming a strong reader.

The proposal builds upon Lee’s strategy to boost K-12 literacy and address learning loss with strong support and resources beginning in kindergarten, including free tutoring, summer camps or options for re-testing. The Governor’s legislation passed with broad bipartisan support in 2021 and includes the following key actions:

Lee Administration Literacy Actions

Proven Phonics-Based Instruction

Currently, an historic forty percent of third graders in Tennessee are meeting expectations in reading. To continue building upon significant reading proficiency gains, Tennessee has hired and empowered more teachers to use proven phonics-based instruction, in which students learn to read by sounding out words, to better serve K-3 students struggling to read at grade level.

Successful Reading 360 and TN ALL Corps Initiatives

Tennessee launched Reading 360 in 2021, offering optional grants and resources tailored to the needs of individual districts, which has led to almost full academic recovery and created the largest permanent summer school program serving pre-K-9th grade and the largest state tutoring program in the country with hundreds of thousands of Tennessee students served.

Reading 360 provides additional strong support for young learners, including free tutoring, summer camps and regular reeding screener tests that begin in kindergarten, so parents and teachers can determine the right pathway based on the unique needs of each students.

Additionally, Tennessee implemented Tennessee Accelerated Literacy and Learning (ALL) Corps to provide ongoing tutoring for students throughout the school year.

Leading the Nation in Prioritizing In-Person Learning

Tennessee led the nation in getting kids back to school after time away from the classroom in 2020, offering in-person learning in every school district across the state.