Here is a collection of tools and best practices in literacy education. These are programs that the Tennessee Afterschool Network has been piloting and replicating across the state in conjunction with its many literacy partners.
Click on the links below for tools that will help your program replicate these strategies.
Raise Your Hand Tennessee is generously funded by grants from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the United Ways of Tennessee.
United Way of East Tennessee Highlands
Every K – 3rd-grade student in need has a team of United Way volunteers and a community of supporters invested in their success. A child sitting at a computer inside their classroom together with a virtual volunteer will make a world of difference in that child’s future. Vello supports classrooms where students are most at risk of falling behind, connecting teams of volunteers to guide students in a virtual 1:1 setting. Research proves that 1:1 reading and a caring adult will help students become better readers. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, UWETH reached more than 40 children at the local Boys and Girls Club through Vello.
United Way of Williamson County
The Raise Your Hand (RYH) Tutoring program is an education initiative to recruit volunteer tutors for students performing below the state standard. Tutors work in the classroom after school helping teachers with 1st through 4th-grade students who are struggling with reading and math. Participation is completely free for students and includes free snacks and transportation home. RYH now combats summer learning loss too.
United Way of Greater Kingsport
With a vision to see 100% of area 3rd graders reading proficiently, and as a signature community impact initiative of the United Way of Greater Kingsport since 2012, United WE READ has been a key community player fighting for early grade literacy among our youngest community members: Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. Our unique positioning combines forces between two school systems, a robust network of afterschool programs, and key community stakeholders.
“In our opinion, Literacy and STEM go so well together. By combining them both, it opens up so many opportunities to learning. It also opens up very good discussions and opportunities as it relates to SEL. In our experience, the kids have loved all the Literacy and STEM activities that we have done. Literacy is a huge component in getting the kids excited about a project as well as teaching valuable lessons. The beautiful thing about STEM then is that it allows a child to be creative. STEM offers a child the opportunity to explore and experiment in a multitude of ways”
Attached are some of our favorite lesson plans and pictures of what we have done so far this year.
State of Tennessee
Tennessee has made tremendous gains in student performance over the past several years – except in reading. Despite our educators’ best efforts, reading skills in elementary school learners have failed to improve, and in some cases have even declined. But these abilities are some of the most important ones our students need, and they are foundational to their success. We have a different vision for the future. We not only want to teach our children to read – we want to develop them into the thinkers, problem-solvers, lifelong learners, and future leaders of Tennessee. And it will take all of us to get there.
Shelby County Schools
Team Read is a Shelby County Schools partnership to recruit volunteers for school and out-of-school programming. A tutoring/reading volunteer opportunity, the program help students improve their literacy skills at an early age. Studies show second grade is a critical year for students in which they make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. The goal is to ensure that every student has mastery of literacy skills to increase academic performance.