On March 13, 2020, I began making a list of public libraries that were closing due to Covid. At first, the list was a trickle, then a surge. Within a week, it was obsolete because every public library and school in the U.S. was closed indefinitely.
Fast forward to May 2021. We are in the final weeks of the Covid school year. Despite the heroic efforts of dedicated educators, the fact is that reading achievement has faltered for students all over the world.
Compounding the problem is the fact that when schools closed last March, reading progress largely stalled. When students began the 2020-21 school year, many started in a learning deficit created last spring.
There are multiple studies underway demonstrating that math and reading scores are generally down 5 to 10% in 2021 vs. 2020. This is not an insurmountable number. However, there is need for great caution with this statistic.
Researchers have found it exceedingly difficult to achieve good data because many students, up to 25%, are not taking assessments-- simply because many students are not at school, the school is not administering assessments or students are not engaged in at-home learning.
We are flying blind to some degree. However, with the data that is being released now, we can reasonably assume that reading skills, especially for K-4 students, are lagging. We know that skills not achieved in early grades can have long term negative influence on academic achievement.
You can see one of these studies at this link.
That’s why I say: LIBRARIANS TO THE RESCUE
Summer reading programs became a staple of public library programming in the late 1970s and 1980s. Summer reading typically is an interesting add-on that gives families a quality activity that helps retain hard-earned reading skills from the previous school year.
Are you prepared to run a summer reading program that do more than it ever has before?
Do you have a plan to carry out better outreach, run quality programs and, most of all, help students maintain skills at a minimum and hopefully increase reading skills?
No pressure, but librarians are more important than ever.
Having seen how libraries all over the world run summer reading programs, I have developed a list of tactics that any library can engage to make their summer reading better than ever—without turning your entire library staff into the “Summer Reading” staff.
Here are some questions to ask that can prompt productive actions to make your summer reading programs count more than ever in 2021:
The questions above guide every aspect of Reader Zone. We know librarians are busy. We wanted to provide a powerful tool to build and deploy reading programs. More importantly, we wanted to make it simple and gratifying for patrons to join and participate with reading programs.
We look forward to helping libraries all over the world the opportunity to build readers this summer.
How to Boost Your Reading Program