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COVID Reading Slide

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Educators have long warned our nation about the dreaded summer slide, a well-documented phenomenon where our children fall behind in their grade-level skills during the summer vacation. According to leading experts at NWEA Research, what we have seen in the typical summer slide will have been exacerbated during the pandemic.

One analysis predicts an average of 2-4 months of reading loss can be expected for students who have less frequent interactions with their teachers. This is particularly true in historically under-resourced communities.

Magazine IconIlluminate Education predicts that, on average, children will return to in-class instruction having achieved 70% of their expected learning. For children with learning differences and who struggle in reading, this could set them on a pathway to perform consistently below grade level in their reading.

As if it were not bad enough, prior to the pandemic 60% of American 4th graders were NOT reading at grade level.

The COVID slide will exacerbate this achievement gap and make it even more difficult for children to stay on the pathway toward high school graduation.

According to LearnUp parents and educators, online teaching has been a challenge for our children with learning differences. As schools moved into distance learning, they struggled to support children in special education and who needed more one-on-one support. Reading is one of the most common special-education diagnoses and is an area ripe for quick wins. We can help our teachers and schools become stronger reading instructors, we can teach our volunteers and paras how to teach reading and we can hire and train tutors to work in after-school programs.

This is even more urgent in lower socio-economic communities that need strong programs based in the Science of Reading, accessible and affordable professional development and sunrise-to-sunset support in bringing every child to grade-level reading. LearnUp knows how to teach teachers how to teach reading to all types and levels of learners.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LearnUp shifted its traditionally in-person classes to an online model for a pilot program last May. After an overwhelming response, LearnUp decided to offer a 20-hour program under a pay-what-you-can model for educators.

​At the end of the course, students will be able to teach all levels and types of learners to read using a structured literacy program that is proven to teach all children to read.

In an effort to maximize impact to reading educators and, in turn, emerging readers, the nonprofit literacy center LearnUp is offering a reduced-cost workshop to train educators and paraprofessionals on how to teach children to read. As one of our community partners said, “We need the training so we can keep the slide from turning into an avalanche!”

To learn more about LearnUp’s pay-what-you-can structured phonics training visit: