September 2, 2020
Addressing urgent literacy needs during COVID-19 and beyond
The challenges and changes presented by COVID-19 have impacted many aspects of our daily lives. For our students and their families, school campus closures have drastically impacted their educational experiences and interactions.
The pandemic has not only presented new challenges for educating youth, but it has exacerbated existing inequities—from access to learning opportunities and tutoring to accessing high-quality instruction in a remote learning environment. McKinsey and Company released a report in June outlining some of the likely impacts of school campus closures and part-time schedules on student learning. Their projections estimated that students overall could lose an average of seven months of learning, while students experiencing economic disadvantages could lose more than a year (see details in the chart below).
While this is not true for all students and some may have positive experiences in their communities, there is undeniably a huge need for targeted and immediate literacy support and resources to narrow the opportunity gap among students who are behind grade level in reading.
Introducing Reading Partners Beyond
In order to meet the immediate and flexible needs of our partner schools, districts, families, and most importantly, our students, Reading Partners has redoubled our innovation efforts to ensure that our programs can support students in any learning environment. In addition to offering our traditional in-person, one-on-one literacy tutoring model when it is safe to do so, we’re also launching a new set of programmatic offerings called Reading Partners Beyond, including a new online tutoring program named Reading Partners Connects.
Reading Partners Beyond is a menu of programs that can be adapted in each of the 12 metro-areas where Reading Partners operates depending on the immediate needs of the community. Program offerings include:
- Enhanced family engagement and resource sharing
- Reading IQ digital library access
- Reading Partners Connects volunteer-led online tutoring
Watch the video of our public information session delivered on August 20, 2020 to learn more about each of these program innovations and our approach to the unique year ahead.
A community effort
Ensuring students have a successful year of learning will be a community effort involving participation from families/caregivers, schools, districts, federal institutions, community members and programs, and more.
At Reading Partners, we rely on individual contributions of time and resources to support students’ literacy development. From monetary donations to volunteer tutors, Reading Partners would not exist without the generosity and commitment of community members.
In addition to our volunteers, Reading Partners’ AmeriCorps service members will continue to be a vital component for our program implementation. We welcomed more than 300 AmeriCorps members who will dedicate a year of service to facilitating the implementation of our tutoring programs and other program innovations. In fact, AmeriCorps members will support volunteers and students in either online or in-person tutoring formats, ensuring sessions are safe and effective.
This year is about innovation, community effort, and achieving impact despite adversity. Our students are excited to learn, and we are committed to being their partners and advocates in their journeys toward becoming confident grade-level readers.