How the Pandemic Impacted Your Child’s Reading Development

If you follow reading instruction and early literacy news, then you know 2023 was a pivotal year for education. From Emily Hanford’s high profile coverage of the literacy gap to “Sarah Schwartz Education Week series” on disruptions to the status quo, momentum for the Science of Reading hit an all time high this year.  

While this shift in educational instruction philosophy was a positive trend, on the flip side were the problematic results from the 2022 National

EarlyBird Back To School Child Reading

Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report. NAEP is considered the nation’s report card on reading and math scores. The findings were published in the Fall of 2022 which showed the largest drop in reading scores since 1990. The report highlighted the academic losses as a result of the pandemic, showing a large gap in performance for those kids/students who were already struggling. The pandemic resulted in kids who are academically delayed or missing critical skills development because of the loss of time in the classroom.

What Parents Can Do

Depending on what information parents receive from their child’s school, it is important to understand your child’s reading skills and scores. With the start of the school year, now is a great time for parents to engage with their kids’ teachers.

How Parents Can Help Their Child As They Learn to Read

Fortunately, parents can play an active role in early identification of their child’s potential for reading challenges including dyslexia. In fact, parents don’t have to wait until their kids  start struggling with learning to read. You need to know what to look for. Here are some ways parents can identify young at-risk children before they experience reading failure:

  • Be observant of your child’s language development. Listen for problems in rhyming, pronunciation and word finding.
  • Observe your child’s ability to recognize and name both individual letters and sounds.
  • Know your family history. Be alert to problems in speaking, reading, writing, spelling or if a family member has dyslexia.  
  • Talk to your child’s teacher. Be proactive in seeking out information on your child’s reading readiness.
  • Check out parent-friendly resources from reputable sites like Reading Rockets that provide reading guides for parents.

If you observe some of these indicators you should consider having your child tested for early literacy skills. Reach out to your child’s school to see what testing they do in Kindergarten – 3rd grades. School-based as well as certain at-home tests or “assessments” are used to help target specific skills that should be addressed for each child (e.g. specific decoding skills, comprehension, etc). The goal of the test is to find those “problem” areas early, ideally before the 3rd grade. That way, your child gets the reading support they need. Most recently, the State of California’s Department of Education passed a new law requiring dyslexia testing and an evidence-based instruction guideline for schools. It cited research showing early intervention can change reading outcomes for kids struggling with learning to read.

Parents: It’s Never Too Early to Test

If you suspect your child may be suffering from reading challenges, the EarlyBird Assessment can help provide a profile of your child’s unique literacy profile. The assessment is available as part of the EarlyBird at Home program, which also includes a fun game-based skill-development app, a dedicated Literacy Specialist to guide you in helping your child, as well as exclusive resources for parents.


Get your child started on their reading journey with EarlyBird at Home