Children falling behind in reading

“It is alarming and a little sad"
Posted at 5:50 PM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 17:54:37-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Parents and educators have been voicing concerns about the impact the pandemic has had on student development, specifically reading.

A new study by Amplify, a curriculum and assessment organization, finds one in three children who started school during the pandemic now need intensive help with their reading.

“It is alarming and a little sad,” reflected Dorinda Darden, assistant deputy director of public services, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

Young boy reading a book at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

Experts offering parents and families tips on helping your child to read.

A young boy sat on a chair inside the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library reading the book “When I grow up" all on his own

Beginner reading area inside Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

“When you see a kid get a book for the first time — you know it's amazing — the smile on their face,” remarked Darden.

She says it is a great place for parents and families to begin a reading journey and it's free, filled with all kinds of children's books.

Young boy reading at Buffalo & Erie County Library.

“Anything that has rhymes in it. We have a lot of picture books and picture books are really good for young children because almost on every page there's a picture — nice colorful pictures that kids like to go along with the story,” Darden explained. “You always want to make reading fun and not a chore or a duty — just make it fun. If they like animals, superheroes — try to get books for their age group to get them to make reading fun.”

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Dorinda Darden, assistant deputy director of public services, downtown library.

The experts say the best thing parents and families can do is read to their child.

“The COVID pandemic and the interruptions in education have really kind of focused like a laser on these kids and their reading development,” replied Anne Ryan, executive director, Read to Succeed Buffalo.

Ryan says she is not surprised children are falling behind in reading, noting the latest national data says more than one in three children in kindergarten through third grade are not expected to be reading on grade level by the end of this school year.

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Anne Ryan, executive director, Read to Succeed Buffalo.

“The pandemic has really impacted disproportionately those pre-school, kindergarten first graders — they're coming in even further behind than many of their older peers,” responded “The research is true — the kids are coming in further behind than ever.”

But Ryan says Read to Succeed uses an intervention of one-on-one tutoring.

Many children books at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

“The interventions have to be individualized — that one-on-one intervention, that one-on-one practice, that one-on-one model of fluent reading and that's what parents can do at home,” Ryan said.

Reading resources available for families:

Read to Succeed Buffalo

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

University at Buffalo, Center for Literacy & Reading Instruction

SUNY Buffalo State, The Literacy Center

Medaille College's Reading Center offers literacy instruction to students in grades Pre-K through 12

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Grandma & grandson reading in library.

Ryan says read aloud to your children and involve them in reading a story.

“You're involving them in the questioning of what's going to happen next or what's in the story or how do you think that person feels,” noted Ryan.

“Literacy is everything and it definitely starts with reading,” Darden replied.