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Reading key to academic growth
Foundation places new emphasis on helping students read on grade level
Tennessee Department of Education deputy commissioner Vicki Kirk presents a copy of The Giving Tree to Director of Schools Bobby Cox.

Few things unlock the doors of imagination and pave the road to academic achievement like the power of reading.
Statistics show that students who are fluent readers tend to excel at other subjects as well. Meanwhile, students who struggle with reading seem to have similar struggles in other subjects.
It’s for this reason, The Children’s Reading Foundation of the Upper Cumberland has organized and is meeting with the singular purpose of getting students to read on grade level by third grade.
The foundation is represented by members of 19 school districts who serve an estimated 60,000 students. It exists in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education.
The Children’s Reading Foundation of the Upper Cumberland’s goal is for 90 percent of third-graders in the region to be reading at or above grade level by 2021.
During the foundation’s annual meeting held recently in Fentress County, speakers celebrated the vision “to ensure children learn to read early and well, thereby reaching their full potential in school and life.”
The foundation’s mission is threefold: 1) to encourage and educate families about their important role in raising a reader and preparing their children for kindergarten; 2) to support schools in ensuring students read on grade level by the end of third grade; and 3) to facilitate community involvement in helping young readers be successful.
Through this laser-focused mission, READ 20 signs are spreading the message all across the region in newspapers, marquees, billboards, yard signs, on central office doors, and it’s literally rolling through our region on school buses.
The Children’s Reading Foundation of the Upper Cumberland strives to maintain the consistent community messaging of this goal and the importance of reading 20 minutes every day. During the summer, over 26,000 books were distributed to children throughout the Upper Cumberland and over 900 families attended READY! for Kindergarten workshops.
As a token of appreciation, keynote speaker Dr. Vicki Kirk, Tennessee Department of Education deputy commissioner, presented representatives from each school district a copy of “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Among those receiving a book from Dr. Kirk was Warren County Director of Schools Bobby Cox.
With the goal of improved reading skills in mind, the foundation is partnering with the National Children’s Reading Foundation to offer free READY! for Kindergarten classes for parents and caregivers of children ages birth to 5.
If you or someone you know is interested in receiving more information about the classes, contact Autumn Turner at 668-4022 ext. 277, or