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.  

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