COVID-19 pandemic influenced all the spheres of people’s lives, and education is not an exception. The recent report by Amplify on the reading performance among the children who attend kindergartens and elementary schools states that the current literacy ratio has significantly decreased compared to that of 2019. In each elementary grade, there are a lot of students whose levels of reading proficiency are significantly lower than in the same age group before the pandemic (Sparks, 2022). However, both teachers and scholars who studied the matter with the help of the DIEBELS method state that the current ratio of children’s reading skills is higher than in 2020 but lower than in 2019.
Apart from that, the research found out that Black and Hispanic students had lower levels of literacy than white students. The scholars and teachers are preoccupied with this fact because it may take more time and effort in the middle school for Black and Hispanic students to reach the demanded level of reading proficiency. Thus, the teachers will have to spend more time teaching them to read and devote more classes to literacy instruction (Arundel, 2022). However, there is a tendency to improve the situation, as the students go back to offline learning when the teacher has the opportunity to control their understanding of the materials. Apart from that, the teachers are not as distracted during the learning process as the parents who were among the leading teaching forces for their children during the pandemic may be. The study shows that parents spend less quality time with their children, and that is why their reading skills are so poor (Sparks, 2022). Thus, the children were notable not only to read but to reflect on the text or discuss it with someone who had more experience and knowledge.
The drop in reading proficiency of elementary school students during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant problem for the US education system. The most obvious way to overcome the existing literacy gap is to spend more teaching hours on literacy instructions not only for students but for the teachers as well. The thing is that the latter do not always have the knowledge of the relevant and up-to-date methods of teaching the students to read and improve their literacy levels. Thus, the most common recommendations for kindergartens and elementary schools will concern spending more teaching hours on literacy instructions for the students and more regular control of their levels of reading proficiency (Arundel, 2022). However, it should be mentioned that the teachers themselves should possess the knowledge of the working methods of reading recovery and implement them into their practice. Their use will help to make the process more comfortable and less stressful for the students because they may not be ready to spend a lot of time learning to read.
Taking into account all mentioned above, it may be concluded that the level of literacy the students of kindergartens and first three grades of elementary schools possess is lower than it was before the pandemic. Thus, the teachers should develop new strategies for teaching reading to overcome this gap and help the students reach the levels of reading proficiency demanded by the education standards. They should add more literacy lessons into the curriculum and use relevant methods of teaching literacy to support students who have reading difficulties.
Arundel, K. (2022). DIBELS data illustrates pandemic reading setbacks. K-12 DIVE.
Sparks, S. D. (2022). More than 1 in 3 children who started school in the pandemic need ‘intensive’ reading help. EducationWeek.