Coronavirus & School Closings - What Does This Mean For Struggling Readers?
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
As a Language & Literacy Interventionist I am dedicated to ensuring children are receiving appropriate and scientifically-proven interventions. I spend my days working with children who present with reading and spelling weaknesses and those who are diagnosed with language-based learning disabilities, like dyslexia. With school closings happening around the country, more and more of these children are out of the classroom. While closing school is undoubtedly the safe thing to do, my mind has been racing with anxiety thinking about all those children who depend on structured, explicit, multisensory instruction in school to learn to read. How will they continue to progress? Will they fall even more behind? While it’s absolutely AMAZING that teachers and parents are finding worksheets and links to free websites, these “cookie cutter” packets aren’t enough for every child. Without explicit instruction, the achievement gap between these children and their peers will likely continue to widen, which falls heavy on me.
Since March 9th, I have been conducting remote Orton-Gilllingham reading instruction and language therapy using Zoom. It has most definitely presented new challenges - never before have I had to to 1) video chat with my students, clients and parents, 2) figure out how to teach without children right in front or next to me and 3) set up a "classroom" in my small NYC apartment. However, it's been humbling to see everyone - teachers, parents, children - come together to acknowledge, appreciate and embrace the transition to our new normal. This experience has made me more dedicated than ever to ensure purposeful instruction - I have been working tirelessly to create individualized, supplemental remote lessons and weekly work packets (i.e., decodable stories, word lists, matching and spelling activities) for each child depending on their reading skills and needs. Schools may be closed, but learning cannot stop!
If you have a child or student who you think will benefit from this type of intervention over the next weeks while schools are closed, please do not hesitate to reach out. I'd be happy to answer any and all questions and will work with you to figure out what works best for you and your child. Let’s stop that gap from widening!