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PBS Teaching Tennessee: Ready 4k Texting

Tennessee Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF), in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE), announced a statewide rollout of Ready4K, a research-based text messaging program to help parents support their students in learning at home. This marks the largest statewide rollout of the Ready4K program to date and this resource is being made available for free to Tennessee school districts by GELF and TDOE.

Through the Ready4K program, 140,000 families with pre-K through 3rd grade students across Tennessee will receive three weekly text messages with facts, easy tips, and activities on how to help each child learn and grow by building on existing family routines. Text messages match each child’s age, with simple, engaging facts and suggestions for building on existing daily routines, such as getting dressed, bath time, or preparing a meal.

“In Tennessee, our goal is to ensure all students can develop into strong readers,” said Dr. Penny Schwinn, Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner. “As a parent, I know this past year has been a stressful time, juggling work and home life while trying to ensure our children continue learning. We are proud to partner with the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation to launch Ready4K in Tennessee and provide this free, easy resource to help families support strong learning at home.”

“Our day-to-day activities outside of the classroom create rich learning experiences that are free and easy to do,” said James Pond, president of GELF. “Together with TDOE, we are highlighting those opportunities in fun, accessible ways for parents and caregivers to incorporate into their daily routines, from getting dressed, to preparing a meal. Just as we deliver books directly to homes, delivering Ready4K texts directly to phones makes it as easy as possible for families to implement learning opportunities that can positively impact a child’s life.”

Ready4K is a part of the Tennessee Department of Education’s new $100 million literacy initiative, Reading 360, which will provide optional reading resources and supports for districts, teachers, and families to help students read on grade level by third grade.

In Tennessee, parents in 86 school districts, 38 of which have voluntary pre-K programs participating, will begin receiving text messages today, January 11. For a full list of the school districts and voluntary pre-K programs participating in Ready4K, visit

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More Information About Programs

About Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF)

The mission of Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) is to strengthen early literacy in Tennessee by acting as a thought leader, advisor and catalyst to support and sustain early literacy programs for children statewide. These programs include Birth-5 Book Delivery through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Storybook Trails, Book Buses, K-3rd Grade Book Delivery and Caregiver Engagement. GELF was founded in 2004 by former Gov. Phil Bredesen as a public-private partnership to sustain Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Tennessee, giving all birth to age five children the opportunity to receive books in the mail at no cost to families. GELF has grown from solely a book-gifting program to an early literacy organization driven by a vision where all Tennessee children have access to the resources, guidance and support they need to become lifelong learners. For more information, visit or, or call toll-free at (877) 99-BOOKS.

About Ready4K

ParentPowered is a public benefit corporation that was established to pursue social impact by creating easy-to-use tools for great parenting to improve the lives of all children, regardless of means. In addition to the core Ready4K program, an evidence-based family engagement curriculum delivered via text messages geared toward children from birth through fourth grade, the company also offers Ready4K Trauma-Informed and Ready4K Personalized Learning. ParentPowered serves parents through partnerships with school districts, Head Starts and community, county, regional, state and national educational organizations, working to ensure equitable learning access to parents regardless of their economic situation. The company was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in San Mateo, California More information is available at and on social media: IG: @Ready_4K, Twitter: @Ready4K, FB: @Ready4K.