If you didn’t, don’t feel bad.
Neither did Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen and First Lady Crissy Haslam, who both toured Johnson City Schools’ Mountain View Elementary School Tuesday afternoon.
“I did not know that,” McQueen said; “I learned something new today,” was Haslam’s comment.
They gained that knowledge in the last of four Mountain View classroom stops the duo made as part of their Classroom Chronicles efforts, which had them in Bristol earlier in morning and Elizabethton in the afternoon.
Haslam and McQueen were guided through the classrooms by four fourth-graders and Principal Melissa Stukes. They watched the lessons of first grade teachers Morgan Murray, Johnny Tucker and Amanda Fenner and second-grade teacher Marla Hyatt, engaging and reading with students themselves.
“It’s always interesting for me to see teachers in action,” Haslam said. “This is a chance for me to do that today. To see how they’re engaging students and how those students are responding. I spent the last six years visiting schools, but mostly reading with kids and talking to kids about the importance of being strong readers.”
The Education Commissioner applauded Haslam’s efforts in support of reading at an early age, and then as students grow.
“The first lady has really built this network of people who understand the value of reading every day,” McQueen said. “The value of books in the home; the value of early reading and early literacy. And we’re trying to come beside that as a department and say, ‘let’s dig in on the classroom instruction piece on this network and the summer reading loss issue that we know can be real for kids who are the farthest behind.’ ”
To do just that, Tennessee has gotten behind its Read to be Ready program, which has been in place for nearly two years.
A big “Read to be Ready” poster sits in the window of the main entrance to Mountain View Elementary School.
The state’s education department, under the Haslam administration’s guidance, seeks to use reading as a way to develop Tennessee’s young students into the thinkers, problem-solvers, lifelong learners and future leaders of Tennessee.
Stukes said the teachers at Mountain View have been great about building their classroom libraries for their book-consuming students.
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