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ERIC Number: ED590228
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
First Steps: A Report on Elementary Grades Reading in Tennessee
Tennessee Department of Education
In February 2016, the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) pulled together stakeholders from across the state and set an ambitious goal--that at least 75 percent of third graders would be proficient readers by 2025. The goal originated from both stagnant third grade reading scores in the state and national research indicating that third grade reading is a key predictor of later life outcomes. Following the public commitment to the goal, the state embarked upon a campaign called Read to be Ready aimed at helping the (TDOE) meet this ambitious target. It has now been two years since the original call to action. The children who will be third graders in 2025 are infants taking their first steps. (TDOE) knows that systematic change takes time, but also recognizes the urgency of this mission. This report looks at areas of significant progress and areas of continued challenge. The report provides a detailed analysis of progress including findings both from the 2016-17 state assessment and from classroom observations. Key next steps for the (TDOE) include supporting teachers in foundational skills instruction and in the selection of strategic texts, along with questions, and tasks to build student knowledge. This support will include working with district and school leaders on quality materials selection and strengthening professional learning efforts (including coaching) designed to help teachers improve their instruction. It will also include the release of additional supports, such as more unit starters, and supporting alignment of expectations with elementary school principals and educator preparation providers. Though still in the initial phases of this work, (TDOE) is encouraged by the progress seen. District leaders guided by department regional content experts have been surprised by the lack of quality texts used in classrooms, and upon realizing this, have expressed determination to help teachers shift to more worthwhile texts. Teachers are also realizing that if they ask higher-order thinking questions, their students will meet the challenge. The hope is that as readers examine the report they will have their own "aha" moments and will feel both the excitement and importance of this work. [To access the related report, "Building the Framework: A Report on Elementary Grades Reading in Tennessee," see ED590225.]
Tennessee Department of Education. Andrew Johnson Tower 6th Floor, Nashville, TN 37243-0375. Tel: 615-741-2731; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Tennessee Department of Education
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A