Chattanooga 2.0 introduces the Family Reads Program

As part of its mission to bring quality education and support to students across Hamilton County, Chattanooga 2.0 has launched a new program to help with its literacy plan and create access to reading.

NOOGAtoday | Table of books

Read it to believe it — this program hopes to increase literacy county-wide.

Photo provided by Chattanooga 2.0

Table of Contents

Chattanooga 2.0, an organization that works to create a thriving and inclusive economy in Hamilton County, recently launched its Family Reads program to increase literacy + access to books.

Why? According to Brandon Hubbard-Heitz, director of literacy and student strategies, there’s a pretty tight correlation between the number of books in a household, and kids’ future literacy. He hopes this program gets books directly to students, encouraging those educational values outside of the classroom.

Family Reads is currently in its pilot stage — focused on testing for proof points, and assessing sustainability of the program going county-wide. Here’s a peek into this stage.

Pilot school

Soddy Elementary School will serve as the program’s first activation site. Chosen for its strong home-school partnerships + because it doesn’t yet have a publicly-funded library system, students and families will be given access to books at home.

The school will receive 550 books each quarter. The first installment arrived in November, with the next coming in January. Alongside each book, families get an activity sheet sent home to help bridge the learning gap.

NOOGAtoday | Family Reads activity sheet

Family Reads will work to ensure children have access to books and families have access to guidance + support for early-learning development.

Activity sheet provided by Chattanooga 2.0

Think: Working on phonics, practicing decoding + word skills, and more.

“It gives families a window into what their kids are learning, whether it’s word recognition or topics and units they’re learning,” said Hubbard-Heitz.

Data collection

To get an understanding of the program’s progress, literacy will be monitored through:

  • State + school assessments to see if students are reading and writing on grade-level standards
  • Feedback from students + families on how Family Reads is working for them

“We want to see students with a deeper love of reading. We want to see families feel more supported,” Hubbard-Heitz said. “We want to foster more authentic connections between school and home as well as give teachers more outlets to support student learning.”