As we enter 2024, parents hope for positive feedback from the primary schools regarding our student’s reading progress. In many cases there isn’t much to be happy about. We know that the Pandemic created massive chaos, with inconsistent on-line instruction lapses, and little or no school for many public-school students. Now we are playing catch up at a critical time in our primary aged children’s educational development.
While Covid presented a major glitch in reading instruction, we now have a new directive. In recent years, more than 40 states have passed laws that attempt to revamp reading literacy instruction. The new effort, which has caught on across the United States, is known as the Science of Reading Movement.
The movement points out that teaching strategies must be aligned with cognitive research on how young children learn to read. The research indicates that exposure to broad vocabulary and the understanding of phonics are critical to learning to read. Phonics is the relationship between letters and the sounds of spoken language. This is where parents and volunteers have an opportunity to help bridge the gap in reading scores from pre and post Covid.
Vocabulary can be introduced at a very young age in the home, simply by talking to children and exposing them to new language experiences. Many schools welcome volunteers interested in helping young readers to understand the letter-sound connection, otherwise known as phonics. I have written previously about libraries, and these can be an effective tool to complement the process of learning to read. With a more scientific approach to reading instruction, and the willingness of families and volunteers to assist in the process, we can help our teachers to improve the unfortunate reading scores of the post covid era.