This week, the state is launching a program meant to improve the literacy of Tennessee’s school students. Reading 360 is a $100 million initiative from the state Department of Education.
The program provides new phonics-based resources for all of the adults who help young children learn to read. That means training and materials for teachers, tips for parents and guardians.
Before the pandemic, only about a third of Tennessee’s third graders could read at their grade level. Given the disruptions to instruction since March, that figure is only expected to be worse once the next round of assessments is performed.
“We know that literacy is essential to the success of all students and our state,” Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, who chairs the House Education Committee, says in a statement. “With the disruption our schools have experienced over the past year, it is crucial that we offer our local school districts support in addressing reading as soon as possible and Reading 360 is one way we can get started now.”
All of the money for Reading 360 comes from the federal government. More than half of it is earmarked for pandemic recovery efforts.