Karen Vogelsang

Executive Director - ARISE2Read
1575501886 V2 Photo CFP 2

Karen Vogelsang

Executive Director - ARISE2Read


Karen Vogelsang is the Executive Director of ARISE2Read. Karen taught elementary school. She holds a Masters in Elementary Education and earned National Board Certification. Karen is the 2015 Tennessee Teacher of the Year. She received fellowships at Harvard’s Project Zero, Gates Foundation, Teach Plus, and Hope Street Group.
Speaking Experience:

(March 2019). Shelby County Schools Teacher of the Year Gala. Memphis, TN.
(February 2019). Literacy: The Key to New Communities. Downtown Ministries Foundation Dinner, Athens, GA.
(May 2018). Literacy: The Key to a New Memphis. Speaker at Rotary Club of Memphis Central, Memphis, TN.
(July 2018). Putting Community Back in Schools. Ted Talk at the National Network of State Teachers of the Year Conference, Las Vegas, NV.
(February 2018). Literacy: The Key to a New Memphis. Speaker at Wiseheart Luncheon, Memphis, TN.
(February 2017). Integrating Thinking Routine with Effective Questioning. Presenter at Elevate Urban Education Summit, Memphis, TN.
(November 2016). Got Questions? Integrating Effective Questioning with Visible Thinking Routines. Presenter at West Tennessee New Teacher Summit for Tennessee Department of Education, Jackson, TN.
(April 2016). Zeroing In on What Matters in Teaching and Learning. Keynote for Project Zero-Memphis convening, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.
(November 2016). Got Questions? Integrating Effective Questioning with Visible Thinking Routines. Presenter at Project Zero – Memphis convening, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.
(December 2015). Celebrating Teaching and Learning. Keynote for Austin Peay State University, Preservice Teacher Commencement, Clarksville, TN.
(September 2015). Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers. Keynote for ECET2TN Convening, Nashville, TN.
(June 2015). The Way Forward: Teaching and Leading. Keynote for Lipscomb University Alumni Summit, Nashville, TN.
(March 2015). Career Satisfaction: Tales from a Teacher Nerd. Keynote for Lipscomb University and Vanderbilt University Preservice Teacher Conference, Nashville, TN.

1000 Words

Participants will learn about the impact of the ARISE2Read program. They will learn how the program was researched and how our protocol is making a difference for thousands of children. Participants will learn how our effective program can be used to actively engage students in building their foundational literacy skills to transition from learning to read to reading to learn.

Literacy is the key to opportunity in life. A child’s current place in the world should not determine their future. However, in the US only 35% of 4th graders are proficient in reading according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 2019). Memphis, Tennessee has the second-highest rate of childhood poverty in America with 39% of our children living in poverty, and only 24% of our 3rd-grade students are proficient in reading. According to Unesco (2014), 175 million young people lack basic literacy skills and millions of children across the world are not able to read a single word after up to four years of schooling.
Eight years ago, Donna Gaines, founded ARISE2Read. ARISE2Read is a partnership between faith-based organizations, businesses, and local school districts to strengthen the foundational literacy skills of students in the 2nd grade. This is a critical juncture as students transition from learning to read, to reading to learn, because for students not reading on grade level by the end of 4th grade, 2/3 of them will likely end up on welfare or in prison.

ARISE2Read uses a simple sight word approach using the research-based Fry Sight Word list. These 1,000 words represent the most common words found in the English language. Automatic recognition of these words supports reading fluency and comprehension. The ARISE2Read program is making a difference. Last year students in Shelby County gained an average of 3-grade levels of growth in word reading fluency. In less than seven years our program has grown from 1 to 41 schools locally and to 57 schools in 11 other states. We are also supporting schools in Kenya and Malawi, and next year we will train teachers in Uganda. ARISE2Read is a simple, structured program that’s making a difference in Memphis and beyond.