World, Front Page

US kids severely behind in reading after 2 years of pandemic

By Xinhua
Published : 11 Mar 2022 08:48 PM | Updated : 12 Mar 2022 03:42 PM

As the Covid-19 pandemic enters its third year, a cluster of new studies show that about a third of US children in the youngest grades are missing reading benchmarks, up significantly from before the pandemic, reported The New York Times on Tuesday.

"Children in every demographic group have been affected, but Black and Hispanic children, as well as those from low-income families, those with disabilities and those who are not fluent in English, have fallen the furthest behind," said the newspaper in its report.

In Virginia, early reading skills were at a 20-year low this fall. In the Boston region, 60 percent of students at some high-poverty schools have been identified as at high risk for reading problems, twice the number of students as before the pandemic, according to the report.

"The literacy crisis did not start with the pandemic. In 2019, results on national and international exams showed stagnant or declining American performance in reading, and widening gaps between high and low performers," said the article titled "It's 'Alarming': Children Are Severely Behind in Reading."

The causes are multifaceted, but many experts point to a shortage of educators trained in phonics and phonemic awareness -- the foundational skills of linking the sounds of spoken English to the letters that appear on the page. "The pandemic has compounded those issues," it added.

Related Topics