Haywood Reads

According to the latest National Assessment Educational Program (NAEP), the Nation’s Report Card 2011, Tennessee’s reading average has dropped. In comparison, our district scores continue to remain stable as they have done for over a decade, but our reading score is below the state average (grade 3-8). In grades 9-12, our state ACT composite score decreased this last year; while Haywood County’s ACT composite score increased; however, the reading score decreased significantly.

Having background information about literacy in Tennessee and Haywood County, it is necessary to focus our efforts on increasing the reading/literacy proficient rate. It is essential that students learn to read by grade 3. To accomplish this, we as a school system and community must support reading throughout our schools and community.

The Haywood READS initiative is designed to promote literacy. The varied reading initiatives have been or will be implemented to support literacy. Haywood READS initiative is an evolving involving, which means more reading efforts will be implemented to support reading/literacy. There is no one magic bullet that can increase reading/literacy proficiency; therefore, our new Haywood READS initiative will serve as our reading/literacy initiative for the school system as well as the community.

As the superintendent, my platform will be “Improving Literacy in Haywood County – Haywood READS.” I will continue to partner with schools, administrators, teachers, students, families, and businesses to ensure that reading is a priority in Brownsville and Haywood County. One thing for sure in our community, kids come FIRST. It is evident from the support that has been shown from the school board, county commissioners, city aldermen, businesses, support groups/organizations, etc. This is a daunting task, but I am very encouraged that we as a whole, working together we can achieve this milestone.

Below I have included various reading initiatives that are currently being implemented. I challenge this school system and community to join me in this war of defeating illiteracy in our county. Here Comes Success, because Haywood Can Succeed!

RtI – Response to Intervention
In grades K-3, we will implement Voyager Passport. This is an intervention program that is implemented daily for 30 minutes. Students who need additional reading support are identified and assigned to small groups for explicit instruction. As students progress, they are reassigned to appropriate groups. Currently, grades two and three are implementing this intervention program. Next year, the program will be implemented in grades K-3.

Community Support Needed: During this intervention block, students who are on track are working in varied centers. The community could volunteer to serve in classrooms and support these students who are on track. Contact the school principal at the schools listed below.
Haywood Elementary School (731) 772-0735 Ms. Tracy Riddle, principal
East Side Elementary School (731) 772-1233 Ms. Sandra Humphreys, principal

RtM – Read to Me
In grades Prk -8, students are read to daily. Schools have a designated time where teachers or assigned individuals read to students. This is done early morning or late afternoon. During this time, students are engaged for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Research encourages reading aloud to students will increase students fluency and vocabulary.

Community Support Needed: The community can serve as readers at individual schools. It only takes 15 to 20 minutes to read to a class. Please contact all schools to help!
Anderson Elementary School (731) 772-9053  Mr. Jim Frazier, principal
Haywood Elementary School (731) 772-0732  Ms. Tracy Riddle, principal
East Side Elementary School (731) 772-1233  Ms. Sandra Humphreys, principal
Sunny Hill Elementary School (731) 772-3401 Ms. Jackie Whitten, principal
Haywood Junior High School (731) 772-3265  Ms. Yvette Blue, principal

Family Literacy Night
Each school hosts a literacy night to highlight literacy. Notices are sent home by students. During this event, many reading activities are facilitated throughout the building. If you have ever been to a carnival, Family Literacy Night mirrors a carnival, but it is an array of reading games and activities the community can participate in while enjoying food and fellowship.

Community Support Needed: No assistance needed other than participation.

Haywood County Schools partnership with Family Resource Center – BOOK JAMS
This initiative is a partnership between HCS and UT Extension office/Family Resource Centers. The Family Resource Center coordinator works with schools to host two BOOK JAMS each year that provide students with a free books. This has been promoted in elementary schools.

Community Support Needed: Contact Ms. Peggy Jackson, Coordinator of Family Resource Centers – (731) 772-2861.

Reading Tutors (Retired Educators)
At the third-grade level, reading tutors (retired successful educators) are employed to work with students who demonstrate below proficiency in reading. Students are excused from the class for an allotted amount of time to engage in reading strategies with the tutor. Tutors work two days a week with groups of students.

During East Side’s Literacy Night, families enjoyed food, read alouds, a book walk, sight word games, and arts and crafts. Several even dressed up as Wizard of Oz characters.

T. J. Ticket, mascot from the third-grade Ticket to Read program, visited East Side, encouraged students to read, and met the first six Weeks Top Ticket Winners. Students also enjoyed visiting readers, including Deputy Superintendent Teresa Russell.


To promote the importance of reading, Haywood Schools Superintendent Dr. Marlon King visited Ms. Janet Grammer’s third-grade eCLASS. He shared information about his career, what importance reading has played in it, and a favorite childhood book. The students really enjoyed his version of the story, Goldilock’s and the Three Bears.

Yee Haw! Sunny Hill students felt as if they had just walked into a western corral when they entered the gym on Thursday, October 6, thanks to Mrs. Peggy Jackson and her staff from the UT Extension Service. The entire gym was decorated in Western décor, displaying the them of this fall’s Book Jam. Students enjoyed visiting the displays of rodeo items and watching a video about the rodeo. Afterwards, they were allowed to select three books from the hundreds that were available. The students especially enjoyed visiting with Miss Tennessee Rodeo, Ty Fitzgerald, from UT-Martin. She stressed the importance of reading and encouraged them to appreciate their teachers and do their best work in school. Now, giddy-up, pardners, and read a good book!