Statewide Literacy Awareness Campaign Launched

Last month, the Tennessee Department of Education, in collaboration with Tennessee PBS, launched Starting with Sounds, a Reading 360 statewide awareness campaign to help Tennessee parents and students understand the importance of reading in an engaging and fun way. 

In collaboration with Tennessee PBS, the state’s six PBS stations- WCTE, WETP, WKNO, WKOP, WLJT, WNPT, WTCI- covering east to west and north to south, the department created Starting with Sounds to highlight the importance of early literacy and how families and students can practice reading by watching and listening to national and local musicians, athletes, and champions of student success read their favorite books and sing songs to help build these critical skills. 

A list of the participating musicians, athletes, notable Tennesseans and national champions of youth achievement with links to their recorded videos is as follows: 

  • Jason Crabb: Grammy award-winning singer and musician reads children's book "Most Days" and sings "What a Wonderful World" 
  • Ellie Holcomb: Singer-songwriter reads children's book "My Father's Dragon" and sings "Family" 
  • Kathy Mattea: Grammy award-winning country music and bluegrass singer reads "The Wind in the Willows" and sings "One Light, One Sun" 
  • Ketch Secor: Grammy award-winning singer and founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show reads "Lorraine" 
  • Scott Hamilton: Olympic gold medalist reads "Fritzy Finds a Hat" 
  • Jake Hoot: NBC’s “The Voice” winner and country music singer reads "Bloom" and sings "Best Job I Ever Had" 
  • Carl Ray: Country music singer reads and sings "Tiger in my Soup" 
  • Kelly Lang: Award-winning singer/songwriter reads "Most People" 
  • Rissi Palmer: Country music singer reads "Magnificent Homespun Brown" and sings "Best Day Ever" 
  • Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley: Nationally known musicians read "Farmer Falgu Goes on a Trip" and sing "No More Hard Times Blues" 
  • More to come! 

Starting November 1, Starting with Sounds will air on Tennessee PBS during the department’s regularly scheduled time block from 9 a.m.- 11 a.m. CT. Additional Starting with Sounds videos will be added soon, including videos featuring celebrities like country music singer Tenille Townes and country music singer and songwriter Niko Moon. Local and national musicians, athletes, and other champions for student success are invited and encouraged to participate. Click here to learn more. 

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