By 13 WHAM News

As students prepare to cross the finish line of another pandemic school year, some families are noticing a growing problem — a decline in the number of kindergarten and first graders reaching reading benchmarks.

New research shows reading scores for younger students dropped when they returned to school from remote learning.

While students who already had some basic reading skills were better equipped to grow and continue learning.

A February 2022 research brief from Amplify found pandemic-related learning losses in early literacy are now disproportionately concentrated in the early elementary grades.

Meaning, some kindergarten and first graders are now at a greater risk of not learning to read.

“Parents are the first teachers of a child,” said Kilolo Moyo-White who is a family and community engagement specialist at ‘Roc the Future.’

“Families. Everything that happens around that child, that child is learning from and a lot of that is a form of reading.”

Moyo-White said reading starts with observation.

“Helping children to just describe the things around them and to explain what’s happening to them. So a lot of it is just talking and sharing with children. And then it goes into those enhanced steps of actually understanding language and words that are written on a page.”

The goal now is to get students back up to speed and stop the slide.

“I would really ask for us to examine in what ways are we committed to, as a community, bridging the gaps and providing the essential training for teachers and schools as well as the support services that need to be within the community to support the additional tutoring or learning loss programs.”

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