It’s the ghost of COVID-19 again. What if American children’s reading ability is lagging behind?

In the American classrooms, children who have just entered elementary school have tried to read the text again and again, but they can’t read the text.

Severely behind in reading ability
In March 2020, under the COVID-19 epidemic, people hid at home to reduce the chance of infection, and children continued their studies through remote courses. Now, after the children who completed kindergarten courses through remote classes entered elementary school and returned to the physical campus, research shows that an average of one-third of children in the United States have not reached the reading benchmark, and the proportion of these children who are seriously behind in reading is significantly higher than before the epidemic. increase a lot.

Not ready yet
The study mentioned that about 33% of second-grade students do not have the reading ability that second-grade students should have, which is 9% higher than before the epidemic, and 38% of third-grade students do not have the corresponding ability, which is 7% more than before the epidemic. According to a study by the University of Virginia, 35% of Virginia students scored lower than expected on language tests in the fall of 2021, a 20-year low.

Limited effectiveness of remote courses
The number one problem that many teachers encounter in class is that their children forget pronunciation. Some teachers in the first and second grades of primary school even have to review the kindergarten curriculum after school starts. Although the school still tried to continue teaching through remote courses during the blockade, even for experienced teachers, it is difficult to take into account each student when taking courses remotely and maintain the same quality as physical classes.

Vulnerable children may be the tail of a crane
Tiffany P. Hogan, director of the Language and Literature Laboratory at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, said that in some poorer schools, 60% of students identified as having backward reading skills, and the number was also affected by the epidemic. 2 times as much as before.

While children of all races are affected, black, Hispanic, low-income or disabled children are disproportionately affected and lag behind the most. “If students don’t have enough reading skills by the time they finish elementary school, the risk is considerable,” Hogan said. “They could be heading for a future in which they drop out of high school, fail to find a good job as an adult, or go to jail for their crimes.”

It’s not all the pandemic’s fault
In fact, the problem of reading crisis started before the outbreak of COVID-19.

In 2019, a number of domestic and foreign tests showed that the overall reading ability of Americans was gradually declining, and there was a trend of polarization. While there are many factors behind the decline, many experts point to a lack of teachers in schools who understand the importance of phonics and phonemic awareness — the basic skills that link English spoken and written letters.

Trying to Rescue Reading Ability
Schools are now under pressure to improve students’ reading skills as quickly as possible, as almost all courses require reading skills as a basis. In order to solve this problem, the government has also invested billions of dollars in schools at all levels to help improve students’ reading skills.

But if schools can’t find teachers who make good use of their resources, the end result is quite limited.

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