PENCIL Reading Partners


Focused on Reading

To build literacy, students need to master phonics, oral language, and content knowledge with the goal of strong comprehension, or understanding, of what they read.  They also need core skills such as alphabet knowledge, fluency, and word reading. Students who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than their peers who have developed those skills. Dropping out of high school has major long-term implications for these students’ financial well-being and health, as well as societal costs. Recognizing its reading and literacy challenges, Tennessee set an ambitious goal to have 75% of Tennessee students reading at proficient or advanced levels by the year 2025. (2016 State Report Card)

Metro Nashville Public Schools PENCIL

3rd Grade Students

72% Reading Below Grade Level

The Impact

PENCIL Reading Partners help close the reading achievement gap in Nashville, where 72% of third-graders are not reading at grade level. Vulnerable student groups face even more challenges with 75% of low-income students not reading on grade level. 22% of students in MNPS are learning English, the highest percentage in Tennessee. The Reading Partners programs, and volunteers like you, help these children grow in their reading skills to be on grade level with their peers.  

"As a Reading Partner, I get to see the difference my volunteer time makes as I watch my student make great strides in reading. At the beginning of the school year, my kindergartner didn't know the names and sounds of all her letters. After just one semester working with her, she is already able to read some two- and three- letter sight words. It's incredible!"
Emma Tadlock-Goldsmith, Reading Mentor