Pandemic first graders are way behind in reading

Children in early elementary school have had their most formative first few years of education disrupted by the pandemic, years when they learn basic math and reading skills and important social-emotional skills, like how to get along with peers and follow routines in a classroom.

While experts say it’s likely these students will catch up in many skills, the stakes are especially high around reading. Research shows if children are struggling to read at the end of first grade, they are likely to still be struggling as fourth graders. And in many states with third grade reading “gates” in place, students could be at risk of getting held back…

More than a month into this school year, Miller found she was spending extensive time on social lessons she used to teach in kindergarten, like sharing and problem-solving. She stopped class repeatedly to mediate disagreements. Finally, she resorted to an activity she used to do in kindergarten: role-playing social scenarios, like what to do if someone accidentally trips you.

“So many kids are missing that piece from last year because they were, you know, virtual or on an iPad for most of the time,” Miller said.