Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) announced Tuesday, Oct. 19 its inaugural Educator Advisory Council to serve as a consulting body to help determine the best resources to meet the needs of students across Tennessee.

Overton County first grade teacher Melody Sadler is among the 21 Tennessee educators selected from 115 applicants to serve on the Educator Advisory Council, which represents 20 school districts in all three regions of the state.

With less than one third of Tennessee third graders able to read proficiently, GELF aims to utilize the Council’s experience to meet students and families where they are with the tools they need to strengthen early literacy and combat learning loss.

“Educators play the biggest part of our future generation’s story,” said James Pond, president of GELF. “Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation is honored to recognize their role, learn from their experience, and hear from their perspective to gain a better understanding of what our students need to become successful readers and future leaders. Together, we will work together to combat learning loss and strengthen early literacy.”

The primary responsibility of the Educator Advisory Council will be to select the books that students and teachers from across the state will be mailed through GELF’s K-3 Book Delivery program in Summer 2022. Through its K-3 Book Delivery program, GELF collaborates with Scholastic to mail age-appropriate books to kindergarten through third grade students and teachers over the summer to combat learning loss and support learning in the home. In Summer 2021, GELF mailed books to 90,000 students and teachers across Tennessee, at no cost to families or school districts.

Less than one third of Tennessee third graders read proficiently. Research shows that two to three months of reading proficiency is lost for students who do not read over the summer, and Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) 2021 scores show that disruptions to education during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a 5 percentage point decline in third grade reading proficiency. Research shows that placing books and resources directly into the homes of families helps combat learning loss.

The 2021-2022 Educator Advisory Council represents 15 K-3 teachers, one library media specialist, and five school district leaders.

For more information on GELF and the Educator Advisory Council visit governorsfoundation.org.