Sept. 3, 2021
In an initial review of 3rd-grade reading scores from CMS and some comparison districts, the nonprofit Read Charlotte has outlined the sweeping erosion in reading skills among young children due to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic is an equal opportunity destroyer,” the group writes in its review. “It had a negative effect across all CMS racial subgroups and for economically disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students alike….
“These results demand a massive community response. Scaling up high-quality, targeted reading tutoring is essential. Failure to act decisively will likely negatively affect students’ success in school, high school graduation, chances of involvement in the criminal justice system, employability, mental health and civic engagement for the next decade or more.”
Th results of end-of-grade tests taken this spring are likely worse, and more widespread, than Executive Director Munro Richardson expected when he shared with WCNC in May 2020 his fear that the pandemic would take a toll on reading proficiency.
“Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is one of the best predictors of how well children will do in school,” Richardson told WCNC. “A child that is not reading proficiently by the end of third grade is four times more likely to drop out of high school.
“We already had a gap, sort of like two Charlottes, and the big worry is that the COVID-19 health crisis has exacerbated the divide between the types of experiences children were receiving in our community,” he says.
Pages from the Read Charlotte review are below. The material may be downloaded here. Richardson will speak at the Forum on Sept. 21.