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Is it a Myth? Learning Loss and the Pandemic- A Reality Check

This reality check is an easy one to understand.  Due to the pandemic, we have all been through a lot.  Some more than others, but nonetheless, each factor of the pandemic has taken its toll on us, whether the factors are emotional, social, physical, and, for some, financial.  The stress and uncertainty has shown just how stressful life seems lately, and our children are no different.  Our children have had to endure the difficulties of navigating school closures, switching to remote learning, curbing social activities with friends and family, and managing what most adults have trouble on a daily basis in normal non-pandemic times, which is balancing both home and work life and separating the two when necessary.  However, every day I am encouraged by the smiles of the students that are able to come to the learning center, and I am quickly reminded that our kids are resilient- very resilient!   

However, here’s another reality check.  This has all come at a price. While, schools had no choice but to switch to remote learning in order to keep our children and the communities safe, the reality is that children are showing signs of learning loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  A recent study of data from the Netherlands shows “significant learning losses sustained from March of 2020 through May of 2021 when compared with learning gains observed during the same time period from prior years” (Scientific American, 2021).  Although schools and teachers tirelessly did their best to maintain authentic and meaningful learning, studies indicate it was not as effective as we had hoped.  

 As you might suspect, students from Kindergarten through 5th grade are scoring significantly below grade level in both reading and math studies. One of the largest and most costly concerns school administrators and teachers face is the stark reality of students being able to master reading skills by the end of 2nd grade.  “In particular, researchers found 1st grade students struggled more with phoneme segmentation and letter sounds, and 2nd graders showed significantly less progress in letter sounds, blending words, and fluency when reading aloud” (Edweek.org, 2020).  The effects of learning loss during the pandemic have the potential to be long-lasting.  For example, students who are not reading with proficiency by the 3rd grade are FOUR TIMES less likely to graduate from high school than children who are proficient in reading by the end of 2nd grade. Learning loss has the potential to widen learning gaps, which can affect students far beyond the pandemic year, and can in fact threaten their lifetime earning potential.  

Here’s another reality check. There is hope!  School leaders and educators across the country are willing to do whatever it takes to boost academic skills, provide support for the emotional toll of the last several months, and find ways to  re-engage students in learning. 

But what as parents can you do to help your child learn    the necessary skills to be successful in school?

There is one solution with decades of educational benefits that can significantly help your child.  Here’s a big reality check- TUTORING can help your child to increase learning and help with their mental well-being. Literacy tutoring is most effective for younger students in preschool through 2nd grade and can strengthen elementary literacy skills twice as much when compared to students who did not receive tutoring.

Tutoring is a promising solution which can yield positive educational results to combat pandemic learning loss by offering one-on-one or small group instruction through targeted sessions conducted by a trained educator.  According to econofact.org (2021), on average, ‘tutoring programs consistently led to considerable improvements in learning outcomes.” Generally speaking, students respond well to one-on-one learning or small group instruction, which incorporates targeted focus on learning needs and provides immediate positive feedback to correct educational disparities while boosting self-confidence. 

Here are a few more reasons why tutoring can be helpful.  It is more than likely that tutoring provides additional support and instructional time as well as focused learning. Due to numerous students needing increased help in the classroom, students may not be receiving the additional instructional time they need.  Consequently, tutoring provides an environment of minimal distractions and direct attention between student and teacher in order for a student to focus and deeply learn necessary skills.  Another significant factor in why tutoring helps to improve learning is customizing teaching to specifically address learning gaps and receiving immediate feedback while engaged in learning.  While some may say this might be a bit intensive, both educators and economists will agree that tutoring can increase future productivity and economic gains, and reduce educational learning gaps decades from now.

Covid-19 pandemic related learning loss, therefore, is no longer a myth. Learning loss from remote learning is a sad but unavoidable reality, and our children’s academic learning and future growth is at stake. However, the solution may have been here all along.  

Our highly interactive and multi-sensory methods are highly engaging and effective to provide reading enrichment and/or intervention in reading and writing.   We offer effective literacy programs which are research-based and multi-sensory approach is engaging and effective to boost your child’s literacy needs for reading, writing, spelling, fluency and comprehension for PreK-6th grade. Our dynamic lessons are taught one-on-one or small groups of 2-3 students, and are personalized to meet the specific learning needs of children while giving them the skills and confidence they need to be successful in learning.

Tutoring is a safe bet, and it is backed by a host of educational research. 

At Bridge 2 Learning, we are here to help.  If you are interested in maximizing your child’s learning potential, please contact the learning center, and we can help to increase your child’s mental well-being and academic aspirations.  

Good Start Great Start

Just as the countdown to the end of summer is ticking away, the wind up for back to school is, once again, quickly upon us. Students are donning their back packs, grabbing their lunch boxes, and imagining the prospect of being reunited with their friends again.  After the past year of spending more time at home, some children may be feeling nervous or anxious about school, and many parents wonder if their children are ready academically, socially, and emotionally. 

Ensuring your child is ready for a successful school year is one of the most important factors in a child’s education. School readiness is not only how well a child is prepared, but how parents can be supportive in this process.  

Below are Some Suggested Tips to Get Parents Started This Year:

Talk about what is in store for your child.  Ensure your child feels safe.  Researchers report that the brain will pay attention to safety and well being above anything else.  When children feel anxious or scared, learning is inhibited.  When your child feels nervous, validate their feelings and allow your child to express their feelings, while setting a positive tone about the school year. 

Having these positive discussions, which may include getting good grades, trying out for a new sport, or learning a new concept will help your child process feelings and lesson anxiety.  Other areas might have a more negative tone, perhaps dealing with anxiety such as meeting new people, encountering bullying, or having a demanding schedule. Talking about these areas will help your child to begin to focus his or her mental energy on the new school year. Over the past year and a half, our children have certainly learned how to be resilient, and this will help them to be school ready this year.

Create Routines and Schedules. To support children’s emotional and physical well-being, a predictable routine goes a long way.  Discuss the routine with your child and model for them how to get ready for school.  Visual notes posted in an area at eye level will provide an organized, sequential order to a hurried morning, and ensures that the necessary items such as eating breakfast and brushing teeth are completed before rushing out the door. Your child will feel more independent, and will confidently grow when he or she is able to successful prepare for school without parental reminders.  Check out this free resource:  

 

Encourage School Readiness Skills. While most children faced a flexible learning situation last year, many parents are wondering if their child is behind academically.  Although learning may have looked and felt different last year, it is important to emphasize children never stopped learning! 

Encourage your child to think about newly acquired information in a variety of ways. When suitable, have your child make personal applications, analyze information by asking questions, use critical judgement, and synthesize information in their own words.  This process helps children to make connections and link meaning to past learning, and in actively doing so, they increase their retention. In addition, ask your child open-ended questions to promote more complex thinking and language skills. Examples include:

  • What do you notice while you were reading? 
  • What were you thinking when you solved the equation?
  • What do you think will happen next?

 

Bridge 2 Learning reminds parents that even with the numerous preparations and best of intentions, many students may need extra help to meet reading benchmarks and literacy goals. Getting help at the first sign of trouble will help students from falling further behind in their reading achievement as the school year progresses. 

The 2021-2022 school year is upon us, and no matter how your child is feeling about school, by taking a little bit of time to help your child express their feelings, sharpen their pencils, and prepare for a new school year, parents can help their child make the transition from the long, carefree days of summer to the more structured focused days of classroom schedules and assignments.  Good luck to all our students and their parents as we embark on an exciting new school year!

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Signs of Learning Disabilities in Children who Struggle with Literacy



With a new school year approaching quickly, you may be wondering if this is the year reading will “click” for your child.  If you wonder why your child struggles so much with reading, let me assure you, you are not alone.

According to several studies and sources, roughly 10 million children around the globe have difficulties learning how to read.  This may be attributed to a variety of reasons, including not having enough access to quality or high interest level books, poor phonological or phonemic awareness, or not receiving personalized instruction for specific learning needs.  

Research from the National Center for Education Statistics report, “In 2019-20, the number of students ages 3–21 who received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was 7.3 million, or 14 percent of all public school students” (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/cgg, 2021). Learning disabilities can range in varying degrees of difficulty, which can affect children differently, and can encompass a wide range of specific learning needs from visual and hearing impairments; speech and language processing; dyslexia; weak memory skills; ADHD, and more.  If a child has a learning disability, this is by no means any indication of how intelligent a child is, but rather it can be viewed as how a child may see, hear, and process information differently. This can significantly impact how a child learns how to read, completes homework assignments, and studies for tests, which can be a challenging endeavor, and can often lead to children experiencing frustration and anxiety with school work.  



Scientists and educational leaders are constantly evaluating and updating information in order to provide clear direction and answers to why your child may be struggling with reading. An important factor to remember is  if educational professionals and parents identify a learning disability early and the child receives the right kind of prescribed help, this can provide the opportunity to develop the much needed skills for success in school. Therefore, educators and parents need to be aware of the early common signs of a learning disability.   


It is important to note that most students, will experience one or more of these warning signs from time to time, and this is typical.  However, if you see your child is frustrated with schoolwork, or you see several of these signs over a period of time, consider the possibility of a learning disability and seek help. 
 


If you suspect your child may have a learning disability, please talk to your family pediatrician and your child’s educational professionals.  Therefore, seeking help early, receiving a diagnosis quickly, and implementing explicit instruction to address specific needs, most of these learning issues can be addressed, corrected, and/or show significant improvement in your child’s performance, attitude, and motivation towards school. 

Get Ready For Summer Reading!

Get Ready for Summer Reading! - THOMAS EDISON CHARTER SCHOOL: MRS.  HADSELL'S CLASSROOM

The end of the school year is approaching quickly, and students are looking forward to the longer days as their thoughts turn to swimming, bike riding, boogie boards, and building sand castles.  Although we are all looking forward to the slower pace of summer, educators and parents are keenly aware of the loss of learning momentum and skills during the summer months.  Research indicates that children, who continue to read and learn during the summer months do not suffer learning loss or show signs of regression when compared to students who are not engaged in reading over the summer. The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) notes, “the cumulative effect of summer learning loss as one of the principal factors – along with nutrition, parental involvement, and child motivation- that are deepening the achievement gaps between students” (NWEA, 2019).  The issue for learning loss becomes more significant when students are not motivated to read and their learned skill set starts to decline.  

Here are some ways to help your children stay sharp over the summer and make reading more enjoyable

📚All Reading Material Counts! 

Encourage your child to read all forms of reading material such as short books, magazines, comic books, joke books, non-fiction, fiction, graphic novels, and ebooks.  Some suggested titles for graphic novels are CatStronautsNarwhal and Jelly, and Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series.  Audio books help to build literacy skills and struggling readers can use audio books to record their reading as they follow along with printed text.

📽Have a Book Party!

Read together as a family, and celebrate the completion of a book by having a special family party.  This could mean having a family night of popping some popcorn and watching the movie of a book you completed such as Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryBlack BeautyElosie,The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and many more. Another idea could be a trip to the museum related to the historical context of the book such as George Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge, Betsy Ross House, or Independence Hall.  One of my fondest memories as a child is of a family vacation based on the book, Misty of Chincoteague.  

🛠Encourage Your Child to Read How to Books!

Kids love to create and get involved in doing things, so use reading to launch a new skill or craft.  This could be learning a new cooking technique, trying a science experiment, exploring arts and crafts activities, or developing a construction project.  This will also help to develop a strong connection between books and getting actively involved in creating fun things to learn.  I have found that kids will want to return to these kinds of books over and over again.  Find books like these at the library such as The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book, Cooking Class:  57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!), Adventure Girls!, Adventure Boys!, and Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials.

Visit Bridge 2 Learning!

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Bridge 2 Learning Tutoring Services offers literacy programs that are personalized and exclusive to your child’s specific learning needs. Our research-based instruction and multi-sensory teaching approach is designed to strengthen reading, phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, writing, fluency, and comprehension skills.  Our lessons are highly interactive, and are developed and taught by an experienced Reading Specialist.  

We strive to make learning fun! 

Our Program Offerings 

*Kinder-Ready! Pre-Emergent Literacy Program (Rising Kindergarteners)

*Early and Emergent Reading Classes 

*Reading Intervention Program

*Reading Enrichment for Kindergarten – 6th Grade

*Fine Motor Olympics for PreK- 1st Grade

*Spanish Language Fest for PreK- 1st Grade

*Kids Summer Science for PreK- 1st Grade

Sign up for one FREE class today!

We offer flexible scheduling with no lengthy contracts. 

www.bridge2learning.net

 Wishing you all a beautiful start to your summer!

 🌅 Cheryl

Summer Learning

Summer learning is important THIS YEAR MORE THAN EVER for your child to continue learning and to ensure a smooth transition for next school year.  Bridge 2 Learning offers multiple options for summer learning to help students stay actively engaged and continue to build their reading and math skills this summer. 

Although summer is usually a time to slow down and enjoy the long days of warmth and sunshine, a strong body of research shows, “students lose reading skills over the summer months” (Reading Rockets, n.d.).  Additionally, some students fall behind in applying previously learned math skills over the summer which leads to teachers having to spend time reviewing math content in the beginning of the school year.  This is also widely known as the summer slide, and there are things you can do to prevent this from happening.  

Here are a few things to consider:

 ☀  Summer learning can help strengthen literacy and math  foundations students need to succeed for the next school year.


      ☀ Summer learning will help to reinforce a consistent  routine to ensure a smoother transition to next school year.


      ☀ Summer learning fosters social and emotional development necessary for self-regulation skills and academic achievement.

Children lose essential reading and math skills over the summer, and many fall behind compared to their classmates who are actively engaged in reading, writing, and math activities during the summer. Children, who read a lot over the summer sustain vocabulary and reading comprehension. Likewise, students who are actively engaged in using critical analysis to apply mathematical reasoning to solve problems are more likely to sustain and improve their math skills for the next school year.

If you are trying to improve your child’s reading or math abilities, there are a few things to you can do to encourage your child to engage their minds and imaginations over the summer.  

As parents, you can provide books that match reading levels and interests, however, you will need to monitor your child’s reading comprehension. Research indicates that it is more than just handing a book to a child to read over the summer.  Improving or sustaining summer learning is most effective when parents or family members can provide guidance and critical thinking activities (Kim & White, 2008).  Just by providing children with books without guidance made no significant difference in decoding skills and comprehension for younger children and only a slight difference for older children.  Even having teachers or librarians encouraging students to read had little to no impact on comprehension skills.  The report continues to state, “We saw a significant difference when we provided books and adults were involved to guide reading skills and understanding” (Kim & White, 2008).  Parents can determine if their child understands what he or she is reading by asking questions about the story, allowing their child to refer to the text to locate specific details, and summarizing the material in order to deepen comprehension skills.  

All good readers use these reading techniques; however, it is essential that adults be explicit when monitoring comprehension. Reading with others and having the opportunity to critically think and discuss reading material fosters learning and skill building for vocabulary, fluency, spelling, writing and comprehension skills. Comprehension is most beneficial when children receive help from adults, who can ask questions and guide them to better understand what they are reading. This type of reading exercise will help your child to become strong readers.

At Bridge 2 Learning, we are excited to announce our Summer Book Club, where students will be actively engaged in reading while using effective literacy techniques to deepen their comprehension skills. Over the course of four weeks, we will be holding 90 minute reading and discussion sessions along with writing activities in a fun environment where students can read and discuss an interesting story, while also continuing to build their literary skills over the summer months.

We also offer fun and engaging game-based math activities to ensure your child is actively engaged and applying critical thinking skills over the summer to ensure their math skills are fresh and current for the next school year.  

We are here to help to ensure your child’s reading and math skills remain strong all summer long, and to help your child achieve success for the next school year. 

Contact us today or visit our website to register:

Please let me know your thoughts.

🌸Happy May Everyone!