he pandemic no doubt affected every person on this planet one way or another. However, one vulnerable group that most likely was impacted academically is our youngest learners, especially those who were beginning to learn to read as we transitioned to remote learning. While some children may have thrived during the pandemic, some struggled to keep up with their peers. Many of these children are now entering second and third grade feeling discouraged and frustrated and may lack confidence. These struggling readers may also be battling with anxiety. If these young learners haven't mastered phonics, oral reading, and reading comprehension, it could potentially create a domino effect across all subject areas while causing them to give up!

Reading is the pathway and foundation to academic skills across all domains, and students who struggle with reading will have a hard time keeping up with their assignments. In addition, children who struggle with reading can have low self-esteem and even lose the desire to go to school. However, teachers can be their students' greatest cheerleaders. They know that every child is a unique learner with a God-given potential and that the one-size-fits-all approach is not as effective as differentiated instruction.

So, the question that many teachers are asking is, how can we help struggling students catch up? There is GOOD NEWS; instead of dwelling on learning loss, there are ways to help children improve their reading skills. Some fun ways to help children catch up include playing games, singing songs, making crafts, and much more. What if I told you that there is a resource that includes all these components and more?  Controlled Phonetic Reading (CPR), an Orton-Gillingham-based product, consists of a variety of HANDS-ON, MULTI-SENSORY, word-for-word teaching lessons designed explicitly for EARLY readers, STRUGGLING readers, and students diagnosed with DYSLEXIA, at an affordable price.




Evelyn Sullivan, M.Ed.

Director of Early Childhood Education and R.E.A.C.H.

Will the Pandemic Impact Early Literacy?

To learn more about CPR, watch an interview with the author of CPR, Melissa Hanson, and teacher Ruth Davis who has piloted this program in her classroom. Also, visit the Creative Products 4 Reading website for further details.

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Teachers and parents should also address the mental and emotional toll that reading deficiencies take on the child when addressing reading difficulties. Take the time to build a positive relationship with the child and to set realistic expectations along the journey. When children feel safe and valued, they are motivated to do their best. So, together, let us meet our children where they are and help build resilience by creating positive interactions and experiences in our classrooms.

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