NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 9, 2022) – 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 second season of its Kickstart to Reading program, an initiative presented by Loden Vision Centers aiming to support parents, educators and schools achieve reading goals among elementary school students.
“We are excited to once again partner with Loden Vision Centers and PENCIL to help Nashville students develop a passion for reading,” said Brandon Hill, Head of Community Engagement. “By creating a fun, engaging program that incentivizes student readers, we are working to make reading an easier and more positive experience for students and teacher alike.”
Prior to COVID-19, only 36 percent of Tennessee’s third-graders could read on grade level. In 2021, the Kickstart to Reading program launched and targeted third grade students at Whitsitt Elementary School. This year, the program will double its capacity, adding Fall-Hamilton Elementary School and serving 200 readers from both institutions.
“Supporting and motivating students takes the investment of an entire community,” said Dr. Karen Bacigalupo, Executive Principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary School. “We are ecstatic to have the support of our neighbor Nashville SC in the mission to inspire a love for reading in our students! Reading is the foundation of all educational success, and what an amazing opportunity for our students to benefit immediately and in the long term from the support of our community and Nashville SC.”
“Whitsitt Elementary School is excited to be partnering with the Nashville SC for our second year of the Kickstart to Reading Campaign,” said Justin Uppinghouse, Principal of Whitsitt Elementary School. “Last year, our 3rd grade students found a true love for reading during the campaign, so we decided to include our 2nd grade students in this year’s campaign. Since arriving to our city, Nashville SC has provided a tremendous level of support for our families and students. We appreciate their efforts to help our students not only build a love for reading, but also introduce them to opportunities to participate within the community that they may not have without this strong partnership.”
"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.