Tennessee Celebrates Literacy Month During March

Throughout the month of March, the Tennessee Department of Education invites all Tennesseans to celebrate Tennessee Literacy Month, spotlighting the Reading 360 initiative and the focus Tennessee’s educators, families, elected officials, and community partners have on improving literacy rates for all learners in the state.

Governor Bill Lee proclaimed March 2023 as Tennessee Literacy Month, and throughout the month, the department is highlighting how reading is for all students. We will be sharing information about literacy programming and initiatives around the state to empower families and students to engage in reading activities at home. 

Celebrations began last week as classrooms and teachers across America and in Tennessee celebrated Dr. Seuss’s great legacy with Reading Across America Week, February 27-March 3. Using the hashtag #TNReadingForALL and #ReadLikeRiley, Tennesseans can engage on social media throughout the month to learn about at-home resources and engage in why they support literacy. 

“Through our Reading 360 initiative, Tennessee’s district and school leaders, educators, elected officials, families, and partners are committed to ensuring all our students are reading on grade level by third grade, and we are already seeing great strides from this work around our state,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn.“I invite all Tennesseans to join us in emphasizing the importance of early literacy and share your love for reading throughout the month of March.”

Last month, the department received engagement from over 850 district and school leaders, teachers, community partners, and education preparation providers (EPPs) during the Reading 360 Virtual Summit, held February 9-10. During the Summit, participants shared their experiences and best practices on implementing high-quality instructional materials and foundational skills instruction and preparing teachers for literacy instruction. A combined 99.4% of the Summit participants rated the Summit as “above average” and “average;” 98.9% reported “my knowledge on the topic increased and the instructional materials provided were high quality,” and 98.4% shared “I have identified next steps toward my work.”

During March, the department will continue to celebrate the 99 Reading 360 districts for their commitment to teacher training, leader support networks, and focused work on early literacy. 

Additionally, the department will host five family literacy events to support K-2 families at home and deliver Decodables and other literacy resources. In addition to the family events, Riley the Reading Raccoon will visit over 30 districts across Tennessee to observe how districts continue to accelerate student learning in literacy. 

Reading is the most essential academic skill for students because it is the foundation for learning. Students who struggle with reading need additional opportunities to practice these newly acquired skills. Resources and support will be shared for families with readers of all ages and abilities, birth through eighth grade. These resources will support families with ways to engage in S.I.M.P.L.E. Moments at home by playing, modeling, listening, and learning about sounds together. Families will also be provided with the strategies and support needed to use them through videos and models. 

Additional resources for families can be accessed on Best for All Central at Family Resources and Literacy Resources for Families. To access additional resources on Reading 360, click here.