The Tennessee Department of Education, along with 90 school districts in the state, is creating Read to Be Ready.

This program is designed to train teachers in the best techniques for teaching literacy to young students. Tennessee has an acknowledged problem with children not reading at grade level, and by training “reading coaches” to work with teachers, the state department of education hopes to get many at least 75 percent of third-graders reading at grade level by 2025.

“You learn about the world in one of two ways,” says Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen. “One is through experiences that you have and the other is reading. Reading is a critical component of making sure all kids are learning and that the learning is moving them to success in the next stage.”

There are six practices that have been proven to help kids learn reading and reading comprehension skills. The coaches will spend time assisting teachers and giving specialized training.

According to the Chattanoogan, among the 20 reading-oriented summer programs launched this year, 95 percent saw an increase in student confidence and interest in reading.

“Reading is foundational to a student’s academic success,” McQueen says. “and by cultivating the skills and desire to read we can develop them into deeper thinkers, problem-solvers, lifelong learners, and future leaders of Tennessee.”

Although early literacy education—as early as preschool—gives a child the best chance of success, for numerous reasons, sometimes that is not available to children. In this case, the best that educators can do is to teach students the joys and mechanics of reading in the early elementary grades.

The Tennessee government website has posted the Read to be Ready guidelines for teachers to view and utilize in their classroom instruction.

The education department will use a variety of tools to track the effectiveness of the program, including information from coach and teacher knowledge surveys, classroom observation, and assessment of students’ achievement in reading.