Third Grade Retention Law / How Parents Support Literacy at Home

Literacy and Third-Grade Retention Law
The Tennessee General Assembly has revised the state’s law regarding the promotion of students from third grade, T.C.A. § 49-6-3115, and requires students who are determined to need additional supports in reading to receive them before being promoted to fourth grade.

Fentress County Schools

How can parents support literacy development at home?

Governor's Early Literacy Foundation - Family Reading Time at Home Guides
Looking for a way to enrich story time with your child? These one-page help sheets provide families with discussion questions, activities, and a helpful book summary – all designed to make reading even more fun!

K-3 Home Learning Toolkit - Developmental Themes, Suggested Books & Activities
Practice makes reading and writing easier, and this list of family-friendly activities will help support literacy development at home.

Reading 360 - Family Reading Resources
Students can learn a lot about reading from their families. This flyer provides activities to promote the sounds-first approach to reading, to model positive reading behaviors, and to support struggling readers.

Starting with Sounds
 In collaboration with Tennessee’s six PBS stations, the Tennessee Department of Education created “Starting with Sounds” to highlight the importance of early literacy and how families and students can practice reading.

Literacy Foundational Skills Online Tool
Practice makes reading and writing easier, and this list of family-friendly activities will help support literacy development at home.

What Parents Need to Know

The law (TCA 49-6-3115) requires that students who score in the bottom two achievement categories on the literacy component of the 3rd grade TCAP, our state’s annual comprehensive assessment, receive certain supports or be retained in the third grade.


Exemptions from the required supports and possible retention

  •    English learners who have received less than two years of ELA instruction

  •   A student who was previously retained

  •   A student who retests before the next school year and scores proficient in ELA

  •    A student with a disability that affects reading.

When will I know if this applies to my student?

  • We expect 3rd-grade TCAP scores to be returned to the district in late May. We will contact parents with their student’s 3rd-grade scores immediately following their release, along with the options for summer school and/or tutoring.

  • We will use our Fall and Winter universal reading screener to make our best prediction of whether or not your student is likely to fall into the below or approaching categories on TCAP.

  • Following the completion of the required supports, the decision on whether or not a student will be retained will be made following the 4th grade TCAP assessment. The law states that a student be retained in 4th grade if they do not make adequate progress on the 4th grade TCAP.

  • The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) is required in the law to define adequate progress. TDOE has not yet released that information.