NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 22, 2021) – In an effort to support statewide early literacy goals among Tennessee students, Nashville Soccer Club is partnering with PENCIL and Metro Nashville Public Schools to launch the Kickstart to Reading program, presented by Loden Vision Centers, an initiative aiming to support parents, educators and schools assist struggling readers.
“We are excited to partner PENCIL and MNPS to help address literacy for students in our community through our Kickstart to Reading program,” said Brandon Hill, Senior Director of Community Engagement. “This is a critical time for students, and they need our support now more than ever. This partnership is a great example of how we can leverage our game to advance the goals of our schools in a fun and engaging way.”
Prior to COVID-19, only 36 percent of Tennessee’s third-graders could read on grade level. In 2021, Kickstart to Reading, which will target third grade students, will help 100 readers who may be falling further behind due to the pandemic. The program will expand to additional schools in the 2021-22 academic school year.
Kickstart to Reading will be administered in Spring 2021 at Whitsitt Elementary School, a school in the Woodbine area, less than two miles from the new Nashville SC Stadium, which is scheduled to open in May 2022. Students who enroll in the program and complete required reading goals will be eligible to receive incentives, such us Nashville SC merchandise, virtual meetings with players, and match tickets. Nashville SC executives and club staff will also volunteer as reading mentors to students enrolled in the program.
“We are extremely grateful to be partnering with the Nashville Soccer Club and their ‘Kickstart to Reading’ Campaign,” said Whitsitt Elementary School Principal, Justin Uppinghouse, “It is always wonderful to work with a community partner that supports our families and our Whitsitt students’ futures with an understanding that improving literacy at the elementary level will help our students expand their background knowledge and experiences, improve their critical thinking skills, and grow their love of reading in a variety of genres and subject matter.”
"Whether it is taking care of general vision needs so that families can see properly or supporting organizations that make a difference in Nashville, community is always the focus at Loden Vision Centers. We believe this partnership will help students see that reading skills lead to new opportunities and ways to follow their dreams," said Dr. James Loden, Founder of Loden Vision Centers and Matthew Pierre, CEO, in a combined statement.
Fans interested in supporting the Kickstart to Reading program, presented by Loden Vision Centers, and other Nashville SC community efforts can visit www.nashvillesc.com/community.