Reading 360 Educator Training is Back, Bigger, and Better for Summer 2022

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | 12:23pm

We all know the statistics. A child reading on grade level is more likely to graduate from high school, enter and complete postsecondary programs, and remain gainfully employed later in life. Moreover, if a child doesn’t learn to read by third grade, they are four times more likely to drop out of high school, which negatively impacts a child’s lifelong socioeconomic health and wellness outcomes. 

Teachers work hard every day to ensure that all the students in their classrooms are successful, and meet grade level standards and, most particularly, know how to make meaning of the written word.  Sadly, as we know from persistently flat reading achievement scores, sometimes hard work and good intentions isn’t enough. Sometimes we need to rethink the very nature of the problem itself. What is the reason our heroic efforts haven’t solved our state’s problem with early literacy? 

Through the state’s Reading 360 initiative, we have begun to tackle the underlying problems.    

Last summer, nearly 10,000 Pre-K through 5th grade teachers and administrators completed the Reading 360 Early Reading Training, a 60-hour course in the newest research in foundational literacy instruction.  

The educators that took part in this training:

  • Learned the newest brain science that shows them how children’s brains learn to read,
  • Provided opportunities to learn how to incorporate that science into the high-quality curriculum specific to the district adoption, and
  • Learned together with grade level colleagues how to implement strategies in their classroom within the context of their own students.

Educators who took part in the training last summer shared overwhelmingly positive ratings, with 97% of participants indicating the early reading training prepared them to better support their students in developing phonics-based reading skills and 97% also said they felt equipped to implement the skills they learned in the Early Reading Training in their classrooms. As we walked through classrooms during March Literacy Month, the department saw teachers all over the state implementing what they had learned during the preceding summer.

Educators throughout the state shared how transformational the early reading training was. Carissa Comer, Putnam County Instructional Coach, said the 60-hour course was "the best professional learning that we have had in 30 years." Bedford County K-5 Instructional Coach Kristie Caldwell said, “the training I received changed everything I thought I knew about how kids learn to read." According to Kindergarten teacher Jenni Mason, from Lebanon Special Schools “the Reading 360 Early Reading Training was some of the most impactful and meaningful PD that I have been to. And I have been to A LOT over my 25 to 27 years.”  Lisa Mullis, also from Lebanon Special School District shares perhaps the most important reason for taking the training – the improved reading outcomes their students are experiencing.  

Not only does the Early Reading Training course steep participants in the research and provide the opportunity to learn with colleagues while applying lessons learned to the curriculum in use in the district, participants also receive a $1000 (pre-tax) stipend from the state department of education when they’ve successfully completed Course I and Course II.

 2022 Week One results show that this year's responses are even better with a 99% say they are said they feel equipped to implement the skills they learned in the Early Reading Training in their classrooms." One participant even said they felt equipped to implement the skills they learned in the Early Reading Training in their classrooms.

Course 1, which is designed to be completed independently, is available here: K-5 educators can use Course I to meet the licensure renewal requirements outlined in the Tennessee Literacy Success Act.  

Principals or instructional supervisors can register educators immediately. For help registering for either Course 1 or Course 2, please reach out to

As educators and leaders are planning their summer learning and summer experiences, I want to ask each of you to think about the doors that successful reading skills open. We owe it to our children to know the latest science, understand how we use that science within our own materials, and build a collaborative group of teachers that can collaborate to improve our instruction together. As educators, the Reading 360 Early Reading Training provides us the opportunity to learn more and do better to serve every child in our classroom and ensure that every child has the best opportunity to meet their reading goals and in turn ensure they can reach their life goals.