Literacy Starts At Home

From the moment babies are born (and even before), their brains are developing at lightning speed. In the first three years of life, children’s brains form more than one million new connections per second—connections that will support their language and literacy development.

Literacy Starts At Home

From the moment babies are born (and even before), their brains are developing at lightning speed. In the first three years of life, children’s brains form more than one million new connections per second—connections that will support their language and literacy development.

Families play crucial roles during these early years and beyond. Indeed, parents and caregivers are their children’s first and best teachers, especially if we provide them with the literacy resources and support they need at home.

Here's what Chattanooga 2.0 and community organizations are doing to support literacy at home.


Chattanooga Basics

Lead Organization: City of Chattanooga

80% of a child’s brain grows in the first few years of life. The Chattanooga Basics are five fun, simple, and powerful ways that every family can use to help every child have a great start in life and build a foundation for literacy in years to come. Learn more about the Basics and activities that families can do at home by visiting the Chattanooga Basics website.

Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Lead Organization: Signal Centers

The number of books in a home is highly correlated with future literacy. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a monthly book-gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income. A multi-sector committee meets quarterly to pursue strategies in service of increasing the percentage of eligible children enrolled in the program from 58% to 75%. Visit the Signal Centers website to sign up an eligible child today!


Nurse-Family Partnership Home Visitation Program

Lead Organization: Erlanger

First-time mothers, especially from low-income backgrounds, may lack support for a healthy pregnancy and parenting journey. Nurse-Family Partnership connects expecting mothers with registered nurses for free personalized support on prenatal care, parenting skills, and accessing community resources—all of which support children’s emergent literacy. To sign up or refer a new mother-to-be, visit Erlanger’s website.


Hamilton County Schools Parent Notification Plan and Literacy Resources for Parents

Lead Organization: Hamilton County Schools

Even with great instruction, some children will still struggle to learn to read in elementary school. Hamilton County Schools has a robust plan for collaborating with families to support their children who are struggling to learn to read while also engaging with Chattanooga 2.0’s Out-of-School Time Alliance to ensure service providers leverage the Science of Reading in their afterschool and summer programming. Find helpful literacy resources for families on the Hamilton County Schools website.


Parent Resource Hub


Parents and caregivers often struggle to find local resources, opportunities, and advice for their families. Chattanooga 2.0 is seeking funding to develop a new platform for families in Hamilton County. The Parent Resource Hub will be an online app that links to a myriad of helpful organizations, events, programs, and resources, many of which will equip families to support literacy. Join Chattanooga 2.0’s email list to be one of the first to find out when this tool is available for families.


ParentPowered Text Messaging

Lead Organization: Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of life, many families aren’t sure how to support their elementary-age children’s academic and holistic development. Sponsored by the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, Hamilton County Schools’ families with students from kindergarten through third grade receive three weekly text messages from ParentPowered with facts, easy tips and activities on how to help each child learn and grow by building on existing family routines. If you have a child from kindergarten to third grade, make sure you are receiving these weekly text messages to support your child’s literacy and more.

Governor's Early Literacy Foundation Logo

K-3 Home Library Book Distribution Program

Lead Organizations: Tennessee Department of Education and Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation

The number of books in a home is highly correlated with future literacy. This free book distribution program supports student learning at home by increasing access to books and other literacy resources that enable students to practice decoding texts and grow their worldly knowledge. Learn more about this program sponsored by the Governor Early Literacy Foundation on the K-3 Home Library webpage, including when books will be available for families.


Reach Out and Read

Lead Organization: Coming Soon
Partner Organization: Chattanooga 2.0

Many parents and caregivers just aren’t sure how to support their children’s literacy before kindergarten or even who to turn to for advice. Through Reach Out and Read, trusted pediatricians integrate reading into wellness visits for children ages 0-5 and make sure families have everything they need to read at home with their children (including a new book after every visit). Chattanooga 2.0 is seeking a clinic to pilot this evidence-based model locally. If you are interested in piloting at your clinic, reach out.


Roads to Reading for Guatemalan-American Families

Lead Organization: La Paz Chattanooga
Partner Organizations: Chattanooga 2.0, Chattanooga Public Library, Hamilton County Schools, The Enterprise Center, WTCI-PBS

Not everyone from Latin America speaks Spanish as their first language. In fact, many speak one of the many languages—like Mam, K’iche’, or Q’anjob’al—that indigenous people have been speaking for centuries. That’s why La Paz Chattanooga and others are providing families with Guatemalan heritage with books and audio-visual resources to ensure every family has what they need to support their children’s early literacy! To view some of the videos and learn more, visit the Roads to Reading website or read our blog.


Family Reads

Lead Organization: Chattanooga 2.0

To thrive as readers, kids need lots of books at their fingertips and the support of their parents and caregivers at home, who can teach them about the world around them. Family Reads gifts K-5 students with a new book every quarter during the year and an activity sheet that families can complete with them. Each book and activity sheet are aligned with the knowledge and skills students are learning in school. Reach out if you or your organization would like to sponsor Family Reads at a local elementary school (or even just for a single grade level).


Summer Reads

Lead Organization: Chattanooga 2.0

For too many students, the resource faucet is turned off during the summer, resulting in a loss of regular access to books and enriching opportunities. Summer Reads will provide students with nine books and activities to complete at home or in their out-of-school time programs in June and July that will enable them to prepare for the upcoming school year while also building their home libraries and love of reading. Reach out if you would like to fund this new strategy.

Chattanooga 2.0 has an Early Childhood Action Plan that outlines strategies from birth to age 8 that will impact literacy and child brain development. Some of those strategies are listed above because of their explicit tie to early literacy skills. To learn more about the plan, visit

Everyone has a role to play in championing literacy and improving the future of Hamilton County. Want to support one of these strategies or learn more?


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