TDOE Releases Tennessee’s Commitment to Early Literacy Report

Tuesday, October 31, 2023 | 12:29pm


Highlights Increased Literacy Rates; Retention & Promotion Data 

Nashville, TN – Today, the Tennessee Department of Education (department) released a report, Tennessee’s Commitment to Early Literacy, providing updates on key policies, initiatives, and investments designed to focus on reading and to improve early literacy rates statewide.  

For years, Tennessee struggled to significantly improve rates of proficiency in English Language Arts (ELA), including in third grade. In recognizing the importance of early literacy and Tennessee’s literacy crisis, Governor Bill Lee, the Tennessee General Assembly, the department, and schools, teachers and families across the state coalesced around efforts to improve early literacy rates through policy, practice and investment. Importantly, earlier this spring, Tennessee third grade students demonstrated hard-earned improvement, exceeding pre-pandemic levels of achievement in ELA on the 2023 TCAP assessment and earning the highest statewide rate of proficiency rate since ELA standards were reset in 2017 of 40%.  

The report summarizes an overview of Tennessee’s early literacy strategy, including passage in 2021 of the Tennessee Literacy Success Act and the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act as well as the 2021 launch of the department’s Reading 360 initiative to support implementation in schools and districts. The report also provides key data on additional learning supports and interventions for students who are not proficient in ELA by their third-grade year.  

“In Tennessee, we saw the product of our state’s comprehensive early literacy strategy earlier this spring when we finally achieved 40% of third graders who are considered to be proficient in English Language Arts. This is the result of strong implementation of smart policy to support our youngest students to all become capable readers,” said Lizzette Reynolds, Commissioner of Education. “However, there is still a long way to go to achieve the best for all students, and now we must keep our focus and momentum when it comes to prioritizing early reading skills and implementing policies and programs with fidelity.”

To view the department’s full report, click here. To learn more about Reading 360, click here. To learn more about TN ALL Corps, click here. To learn more about tutoring, summer programming, and 4th grade promotion, click here

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact