State taps education college for second year to implement statewide literacy campaign

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College of Education continues its leading role in the Read to be Ready campaign

For the second time, the Tennessee State Department of Education has turned to Lipscomb’s College of Education to take a leading role and train more than 2,000 teachers statewide in its literacy campaign, Read to be Ready.

Lipscomb faculty were hired in 2016 to train more than 140 educators selected to conduct 20 summer literacy camps at their schools, as part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Read to be Ready initiative that was funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The summer camps involved more than 600 students last year at 20 sites across the state.

After the success last year, the State Department of Human Services provided a $30 million grant to host up to 350 literacy camps this year affecting up to 10,000 students, and once again education professors Ally Hauptman, Michelle Hasty, and Julie Simone were hired to share their expertise on how to motivate young students to read using research-based best practices for about 2,500 camp coordinators statewide.

The state launched Read to be Ready in 2016 to boost the state’s lagging literacy rates by improving third-grade reading proficiency to 75 percent by 2025.

Lipscomb will hold the educator trainings on campus in April and May. The education professors discuss topics such as how to pick rich literature texts for students and model engaging and effective activities such as writers' notebooks, partner reading and fishbowl conversations. This year, they will offer educators more ways to engage families as partners in building a love of reading.

Simone visited several of the literacy camps in 2016 to provide follow-up advice and assess their effectiveness. Students who come to the camp get at least six new books to add to their home libraries.

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.

The College of Education has also been selected, for the second year, to hold one of the summer literacy camps at J. E. Moss Elementary School, an urban Title 1 school in Nashville, in July. Gov. Bill Haslam and his wife Crissy chose that camp to visit last year to highlight the Read to be Ready campaign.

This year the camp will expand to teach 80 students, rising-first through third-grade English Language Learners, to read strategically and write and respond to narrative, global and informational texts. The students will also enjoy a literature scavenger hunt on the Lipscomb campus.