A more devastating movie plot for education could not be imagined—student educational loss compounded exponentially in years of COVID. Plus, of course, the emotional losses.
Previously known to have harmful effects on about 50% of all students, Summer Setback,1 sometimes known as Learning Loss, is real. Reading success is cumulative, as is reading decline. Summer readers become better and more motivated, while those who do not read forget some or many of the reading skills learned during the previous school year. The educational loss is especially true for children of poverty.
For some children, few, if any, reading skills were learned or practiced…in more than an entire year. So the setback will grow and grow and grow GIGANTC as…
Summer Setback Becomes a Nightmare!
Fortunately, teachers, parents, politicians, the media, all recognize the problem we now have.
Schools are reopening, but will we be able to alleviate the present and future loss?
Should we invest in summer school programs? With firsthand experience in various summer and after-school tutoring programs, I have doubts about their efficacy, and some research2 backs me up. The programs I have seen had few guidelines, irregular attendance, and little academic merit. Cost estimates for US summer school classes vary from $8 billion to over $100 billion!
Now is the time for our school boards decide to face the 21st century head-on and move to year-round school. That means regular teachers, regular hours, regular instructional goals, regular evaluations, more regular pay for the extended summer instructional days. Meanwhile, while waiting for school boards to enter the modern world, I think one possible and less costly answer to our present COVID educational problem should include the same answer as my constant solution to Summer Setback:
Asking children to read daily during the summer months is NOT asking too much of them. Our children do not need to play all day, every day, all summer. When teachers require it, parents usually require it, and students more easily comply. Because so much has been lost over the year+ of the pandemic misery, teachers should insist on summer reading. PLUS, kids get to read about subjects that actually interest them. Choice does make an important contribution to achievement.
Teachers should set up guidelines. Work out broad compliance issues with next year’s teacher. One research3 project indicates that regular text messages to students and/or parents concerning summer reading is effective when it is consistent. The READS 3 home program is also fairly inexpensive with good results.
Parents, too, can initiate summer reading requirements, if the teachers do not. Here is our FREE, easy guide for both parents and teachers to get started.
Just be sure that the child is reading at an independent or instructional level. Use Reading Spotlight’s
FREE QRLE (Quality Reading Level Evaluation) Guide that can be found in
We can’t just ignore the problem of pandemic educational loss. Let’s get to solving it effectively in the least costly manner.
By the way, there is a special person just waiting, waiting, waiting to help …at no cost. You can find her here:
Let’s ALL help by asking kids, wherever we see them, what they are reading this summer.
© Reading Spotlight 2021