Two in three of Nashville’s third-graders cannot read on grade level – a challenge Nashville has wrestled with for more than two decades. That’s why, for the first time, civic, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations have come together to address the problem. The group, the Nashville Literacy Collaborative (NLC), has created an actionable, measurable plan to double the number of third-graders who read on grade level by 2025 through the “Blueprint for Early Childhood Success.”

The unprecedented, collective plan was released today by Mayor Megan Barry, Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph and the NLC, a community working group convened by the mayor, Dr. Joseph, the Nashville Public Library (NPL) and the Nashville Public Education Foundation (NPEF) earlier this year. Following the release, community, civic and business leaders signed a “Community Commitment,” pledging their resolve to the plan’s shared mission for effective, research-based, citywide strategies.

This ambitious Blueprint combines the thought leadership of the NLC, literacy groups, faith and volunteer partners, parents, students, and educators to create a shared implementation framework composed of 29 recommendations.

These recommendations create a web of efforts to prevent any child or family from slipping through the cracks. The recommendations focus on a set of six comprehensive pillars of work:

  • Strengthening birth-through-age-3 supports
  • Improving quality and access to pre-K
  • Strengthening the district’s ability to meet student literacy needs
  • Substantially reducing chronic absenteeism
  • Stemming the tide on summer reading loss, and better maximize out-of-school time
  • Raising public consciousness of the importance and urgency of early literacy