School districts across North Texas have acknowledged remote learning did a number on education. The 2021 STAAR tests were compared to test results pre-pandemic in 2019.
The Texas Education Agency said the declines seen across all subjects, with English I and English II being the only exceptions. The greatest declines were seen in math.
Kristi Mullins, K-6 English Language Arts and Reading coordinator with Duncanville ISD, said they have also seen significant slides when it comes to students and reading. She’s hoping the summer will be a chance for families to help their students catch up.
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“We are putting out some tips for parents and for caregivers. Things that you can do that make a big impact for your student with just a little effort,” Mullins said.
Specifically, in Duncanville ISD, there are plans in place through the summer to help.
“For the first time in years, we are providing support systems for all grade levels to help with the learning loss and still be present with some of our students,” Mullins said.
Mullins said even for families not in her district, there are plenty of free ways to help young learners become better readers.
“You definitely have a cereal box in your cupboard or a canned good. Even when they are in the bathtub looking at the shampoo bottle. When you have their full attention, they can do some of those small things like finding those sight words like 'the, a, and is,'” Mullins said.
She also said journaling through the summer can also help. Writing and reading skills go hand in hand.
“Whenever you make that tie in with reading and writing, we just know based on research that when both are activated, then students have such an active retention in reading and writing,” Mullins said.
Mullins also encourages parents to use TV time as learning time.
“Use your TV’s closed captioning feature where the words pop up on the screen so that you student can watch the shows that they love but are forced to read the words at the bottom of the screen,” Mullins said.
With the help of Reading Partners North Texas and the Fort Worth Library, NBC 5’s Reading With You Literacy Initiative has put together a list of book titles in English and Spanish for families to enjoy all summer long. Many of the diverse titles can be found in your local public library.