COVID-19 Fallout

More Students of Color at Risk in Reading After Pandemic

More K–3 students are at risk in reading as a result of learning losses related to the public policy response to the pandemic. Black and Latinx students are particularly affected. The good news: "Many students have begun to recover from lost literacy instruction," according to a new report.

The report, from education technology company Amplify, is based on end-of-year reading data for 1.2 million K–3 students. It found that schools have begun to effect a return to normalcy in the number of students who are at the greatest risk of not learning to read, at least in grades K–2. In grade 3, however, the number of at-risk students stayed the same. In all grades, the number of students at risk is still worse than in the 2019–2020 academic year.

According to Amplify: "As many students returned to the classroom in the spring, schools made progress in reducing the number of students who were at the greatest risk of not learning how to read. While these gains are important for overcoming instructional loss, the percentage of students at risk of not reading across grades K–3 is still higher than the 2019–20 school year due to pandemic disruptions. Moreover, these remaining instructional losses have widened the national gaps in early reading skills between Black and Hispanic students and their white counterparts."

The report also found that the "gaps nationally between Black and Hispanic students and their white counterparts are now much greater in every grade (kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3) than they were before the pandemic."

For example, the percentage of black students in the highest risk category in grade 1 grew from 32% before the pandemic to 44% after. The percentage of Hispanic students in this category grew from 30% to 38%. Meanwhile, the percentage of white students in the highest risk category went from 20% to 21% in the same period.

The complete report, Students start to recover from instructional loss, is freely available on Amplify's site as a PDF.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .