The last few months have thrown us all for a loop. Kids are home from school and many of us, including myself, have been forced to change the way we work. As a Language & Literacy Interventionist, I have shifted my entire practice to Zoom and have had to figure out ways to teach children without them physically with me. While the experience has professionally challenged me, it has also shed light into what can occur when children lack the structure and consistency of being in a school classroom. Research shows that breaks in schooling, even for a day or two, can negatively impact a child’s ability to master a skill – what can happen when school is out for the unforeseeable future? We've all heard of the "summer slide" (when children lose some of the achievement gains they made during the school year) and its quite possible we'll also see a "coronavirus slide."
Younger children – those in preschool, kindergarten, first, and second grade – are more prone to learning setbacks during this time as they are at a crucial stage in their development. While remote learning is absolutely amazing and necessary, many children are missing the opportunity to learn new material and receive in-the-moment feedback and teaching.
So, what can you do at home? While all children are different, fostering those foundational language and literacy skills a little extra during this time is important!
1. Read – find something to read every day. Find things your child wants to read and read out loud to your child. Stop and ask who, what, where, when and why questions along the way.
2. Play Language Games – Headbanz, Taboo, 20 Spot it!, Apples to Apples, Heads Up!, and 20 Questions on Alexa are fun family games that target various linguistic skills such as vocabulary and syntactic development, word retrieval, inferencing and social skills.
3. Invest in the right screen time – while I don’t usually recommend apps, learning apps such as Homer, Reading Eggs, Spelling City, and Endless Reader are great for phonics, spelling and sight word practice at this time.
4. Remote Tutoring - if you feel as if your child may need more, I have been providing Orton-Gillingham reading intervention and language therapy remotely through Zoom since March. I have been working with parents to create individualized, supplemental reading and language materials for each child I work with.
5. Instagram - Follow me @bzlanguageandliteracy for weekly language and literacy tips and activities!