COVID-19 Causes Major Learning Loss for TN Students
If you’ve been monitoring the recent headlines, you may have noticed what a tremendous toll the pandemic has taken on students in grades K-12, especially when it comes to reading. Researchers with the Ed Tech company Amplify have been tracking the percentage of early learners scoring on grade level, along with the percentage of students in need of reading intervention; their findings were troubling.
Compared to the last school year, fewer students in grades K-5 scored on grade level, while the number of students who scored significantly below grade level increased dramatically.
The statistics are even more concerning for states like Tennessee, where only 37 percent of all students could read proficiently by the end of their third-grade year, even before the pandemic started. COVID learning loss may lead to a further drop in current proficiency levels.
COVID-19 Learning Loss on the Horizon?
At the end of December, Governor Bill Lee acknowledged the statewide education crisis, saying, “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense disruption for Tennessee’s students, educators, and districts, and the challenges they face must be addressed urgently.”
Lee has called a special legislative session on January 19 to hammer out a range of solutions. While hope may be on the horizon, parents must face the reality that anything lawmakers agree on will take months to implement. If you have a child who’s struggling academically, it may be important to seek out alternative programs and services to prevent them from experiencing further COVID-related learning loss and falling even farther behind
LifeReader at the Learning Lab
The Learning Lab has launched a literacy program called LifeReader that may help. LifeReader is designed to specifically target early learners who may need help with phonics, fluency, and reading comprehension.
Former Franklin Special School District teacher Allie Bilderback, who is the Learning Lab’s Reading Center Director, says, “Some students have a hard time learning how to read in a normal school setting, so it’s no surprise those students have been more negatively impacted by the disruptions we’ve experienced over the past nine months. I just feel like the time is ripe for this program because it gives parents that extra resource they may need right now.”
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