Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is investing $30 million dollars over the next three years in the Department of Education’s (DOE) Read to Be Ready Summer Grant program.
The two-generation grant is a part of the department’s 2G for Tennessee strategy, which has a specific focus on partnering with parents and children together to improve the whole family’s well-being while building cycles of success.“We are so excited about the Read to be Ready partnership with DOE, community partners and Tennessee families. Read to be Ready is an absolute game changer,” said Dr. Raquel Hatter, Commissioner of the Department of Human Services.
“This effort is perfectly aligned with the 2Gen framework. It is a definite example of intentional and collective impact in support of the future success of Tennessee children and families. Special thanks to Commissioner McQueen for her leadership on this very important priority,” stated Hatter.
DOE launched the Read to be Ready initiative in February 2016 to better support the state’s youngest students in becoming lifelong readers and learners.
“Literacy is essential to success in life, and it is not acceptable to have less than half of Tennessee students reading proficiently,” First Lady Crissy Haslam said. “Bill and I are thrilled for TDHS’s tremendous investment in the Read to be Ready summer program and the potential it has to impact thousands of students and move Tennessee closer towards the statewide reading goal.”
TDHS first began supporting the program and other state literacy initiatives through work with the Imagination Library. Beginning in 2016, TDHS partnered with parents by providing them with information about the Imagination Library and assisting them in enrolling their child. Through the Read to be Ready Program, the state has set a goal to have 75 percent of third grade students reading on grade level by 2025—which would be an increase from 43 percent in the most recent data.
“We know the ability to read translates to academic success while equalizing opportunities for all students,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen. “Being able to dramatically expand access to high-quality reading support for Tennessee’s youngest students is absolutely critical to achieving the 75 by 2025 goal. The investment from DHS to the Read to be Ready work is a stellar example of state agencies working collectively to support a strong vision.”
Because of the new funding provided by TDHS, the Read to be Ready Summer Grant program will be able to increase the number of students who can participate from about 600 children last year to up to 10,000 students this summer, which could increase the number of summer programs from 20 to as many as 350. Additionally, in 2016, 140 educators were trained to engage in this summer work; in 2017, the Department of Education expects the number of educators receiving training to increase to more than 2,000.
The Read to be Ready Summer Grant funds instructional programs that provide rich, authentic literacy opportunities to students entering first, second, and/or third grade who are not yet proficient in reading and writing skills and who live in low-income areas, including those in rural Tennessee. The goal is to develop students’ love for reading and writing over the summer months by providing them with access to a multitude of high-quality, high-interest texts and literacy experiences.
For more information on the two-generation approach, please visit the 2G for Tennessee webpage at: http://www.tn.gov/humanservices/topic/2gen-approach
For more information on the Read to be Ready Program, please visit: http://www.tn.gov/readtobeready/article/summer-grant-2017-faq