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Tennessee has implemented several literacy policies aimed at improving reading proficiency among its students. The state's approach to literacy education focuses on evidence-based instruction, early intervention, and support for struggling readers. One key policy is the Tennessee Academic Standards for English Language Arts, which outlines the skills and knowledge that students need to develop in order to be successful readers, including phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Tennessee provides training and support for educators in evidence-based literacy practices, such as explicit instruction and the use of assessment data to inform instruction. The state has established the Tennessee Department of Education's Reading 360 initiative to provide guidance and support to educators and promote evidence-based literacy practices.

Tennessee uses a statewide assessment, the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP), to monitor student progress in reading and identify areas where additional support is needed. The state's Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2) framework provides a systematic approach to identifying and supporting struggling readers, with tiered levels of intervention based on student needs.

The Tennessee Department of Education also partners with local organizations and agencies to promote literacy development through initiatives such as the Read to Be Ready campaign and the Tennessee Early Literacy Network. These programs aim to support literacy development among students and families, particularly those in low-income communities. Additionally, the state has established the Tennessee Early Learning Developmental Standards, which focuses on promoting early literacy development among young children in the state.

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Tennessee Student Score Gaps:

  • This represents a decline from the 2019 percentage of 4th grade students not reading at the proficient level which was 65%.

  • In 2022, Black students had an average score that was 29 points lower than that of White students. This performance gap was not significantly different from that in 1998 (25 points).

  • In 2022, Hispanic students had an average score that was 16 points lower than that of White students. Data was not reported for Hispanic students in 1998, because reporting standards were not met.

  • In 2022, male students in Tennessee had an average score that was lower than that of female students by 6 points.

  • In 2022, students who were eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) had an average score that was 23 points lower than that of students who were not eligible. This performance gap was not significantly different from that in 1998 (26 points).

Information from the  NAEP website for 2022 4th grade reading scores.




These organizations are committed to promoting evidence-based reading practices, providing professional development opportunities for educators, and supporting students in developing strong reading skills.

Tennessee Department of Education

Tennessee Reading Association

Tennessee Council of Teachers of English


The International Dyslexia Association - Tennessee Branch

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