Coronavirus. The trending topic that’s been breaking records on social media and the world wide web for the last few months.
The virus now has more than 15 Million reported cases worldwide. In the beginning, there were states, like Italy, that were caught by surprise and were completely closed off, only running emergency services and essential food stores. Others have seen the warning signs and canceled events, closed schools, and urged people to work from home. The United States also tried to isolate itself, with President Trump canceling all flights from Europe to the United States, although the virus quickly found its way into the country.
The schools in Washington, New York, California were the first to close, others followed close behind. Emergency meetings took place about what to do in the next months. The school year ended early, with discussion now raging about what would happen in September and whether we should continue the education remotely or allow the kids in schools.
The immediate effects of the outbreak are clearly visible. The number of infected people is rising by the hour, events are being canceled every day, more and more institutions are closing.
Other consequences are clear as well. The economy will take a hit, the stock market will have to recover and some of the companies will go bankrupt as a consequence of not being able to do business during this time.
“There is no blueprint for this”Lewis D. Ferebee, Chancellor of D.C. public schools
But what about more subtle, long-term effects of the outbreak? What impact will school closures have on children’s learning progress? “There is no blueprint for this,” says Lewis D. Ferebee, chancellor of D.C. public schools. Let’s not forget. Younger children who are learning to read, need consistent practice in order to progress to fluent readers.
Almost all of the schools are setting up temporary solutions, such as remote learning or streaming of lectures. Which is good, but those services are often unreliable and they are certainly not as effective as live classes. They might work well for some kids, but certainly not all of them. The solution is “better than nothing”, according to Jenny Woods, a teacher in special education.
Remote learning is “better than nothing”Jenny Woods, Special Education Teacher
So what happens to children who are already struggling in school? Children who are falling behind because of learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD? The additional work will, no doubt, once again have to be done by parents.
With decreased learning time, parents will have to take matters into their own hands and do additional work at home to help their children continue the learning progress.
How to teach kids who are learning to read
The first thing to remember is not to panic. Sure, the school is closed, but that just means you are going to have a bit more quality family time with your kid. You might have already found some helpful advice from our previous posts, but here are a few additional things you can try to motivate them to read.
Set a routine
“Summer brain is a lack of a schedule, a routine, sleep. Children don’t forget how to read. … They’ve forgotten how to do school. After winter break, when kids come back, they need a week to reset. After daylight saving time, they need a week to reset. A change in their routine makes a big difference,” says Melanie Auerbach, the director of student support at the Sheridan School.
So the first thing to do is to continue with their daily routine. Set up alarm clocks, get the kids dressed, set a learning schedule and don’t forget to include enough breaks. If you don’t know where to start, here is a good, free resource: RMDLR
Read with and to your kids
This one is pretty obvious, but so important, that we had to include it on the list. Reading to your children not only shows them how you sound out words but also builds their vocabulary and comprehension skills. After that, it’s their turn. Let them read to you. Listen to them, try not to interrupt them, but at the same time address their reading mistakes. Specialists advise at least 15 minutes of active reading every day.
Get similar exercises in our Learn To Read: A Comprehensive Guide For Parents
Play word games
This was one of my favorite games as a child. You can play it at home or even in the car. Just start by asking a simple question: “Which word starts with the sound ___?” Or “The word ‘mother’ ends with the sound…?”. It works because it helps children engaged in the activity, as they have to listen, identify the sounds and words and are proud of their effort when they get the answers right.
Harness the power of technology
Learning to read should be fun. Even for children, who learn a bit differently. Children with reading difficulties often end up demotivated and parents find it difficult to get the excitement back to the levels required for reading practice.
Kobi’s selective color-coding method helps children read with greater ease. The Focus Frame keeps kids focused on the word at hand, while the bookmark function helps with positive reinforcement after reading practice. All to give your children the reading practice they desperately need in order to improve. Try risk-free with a 7-day free trial.
Play memory games
Memory games are fun, interactive and keep children engaged. If you don’t have memory games at home, you can quickly create home-made cards, write words on the cards and play with your kids. To do this at another level, make kids write sentences from cards they turn.
Do not give up
These are trying times. But let’s be positive and make the best out of a bad situation. Share this article with parents who need help setting up their daily classroom and don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter.