woman reading a book to the children
Photo by Yan Krukau on Pexels.com

A heart-warming story about improvements to teaching reading in Tennesse, a state in the United States:

“I can actually read this!” kindergartner Easton Malone exclaimed while reading a book during Dr. Seuss Week this spring.

The district started with small changes, beginning with the adoptive practice of teaching “sounds first” using the Tennessee Foundational Skills Curriculum Supplement. By implementing this daily, systematic phonemic awareness curriculum, teachers began the shift from traditional balanced literacy to instruction rooted in the science of reading.

Curiosity was piqued. As coaches worked closely with teachers, an atmosphere of trust, respect and grace was established like never before. Teachers felt comfortable being open, honest and vulnerable. As teachers asked questions and communicated their needs, coaches and administrators were responsive. After a few weeks of implementing sounds first, we were shocked and delighted to learn that more than half of the Pre-K-2 teachers wanted to fully implement the systematic foundational skills instruction mid-year. As a second-grade teacher said, “If it’s best for our kids, what do we have to lose?”

Curriculum Case Study: How Grade-Level Literacy Doubled in Just 2 Months in a Rural Tennessee District

This particular quote struck me:
“Empowered.” That’s how one first-grade teacher described how she feels after implementing instruction backed by the science of reading. Empowered teachers empower readers. We can’t wait to hear more of the sweet chorus of, “I can actually read this!” in the years to come.

Curriculum Case Study: How Grade-Level Literacy Doubled in Just 2 Months in a Rural Tennessee District

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Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.