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April 21, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Jump In Nashville!

A new local organization aims to boost kids' reading ability by the time they end third grade.


It’s no secret that reading’s taken a hit across the country. According to the American Time Use Survey, pleasure reading among ages 15 and older has fallen by 30 percent since 2004. It’s also no secret that kids model their parents’ behavior. So, if you’re not reading, they’re not reading. And that’s not good.

The Scarlett Foundation reports that three out of four Nashville students do not meet basic grade-level reading standards by the end of third grade.

Jump In Nashville! aims to help local school children improve their reading skills by that important third-grade benchmark. It’s a citywide campaign, in conjunction with United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, seeking to double the number of children reading on grade level by the end of third grade by 2025.

“Third grade is the turning point for literacy,” says Leslie Watt, director of education with United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. “It is the point in a child’s educational journey when he goes from learning to read to reading to learn. It affects all future learning, from understanding math problems to deciphering chemistry experiments to grasping the details of a social studies text,” she adds.


Jump In Nashville! offers online resources to help you engage your child’s literacy skills at three age levels: infants/toddlers, preschoolers and elementary students. You’ll find reading milestones, reading activities and games, and other tools. The campaign has three key goals:

1) Enrolling children in high-quality PreK

2) Reading 20 minutes every day

3) Not missing more than five days of school during the entire school year

In addition, the campaign seeks to get the community more involved by urging retailers and services (like barber shops and salons) to set up “little libraries” or book bins to increase access to books for children.

Furthermore, the program seeks book donations and volunteers to become reading advocates and to help in schools to support childhood literacy.

For more info and to get involved, visit

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