Reading during COVID-19

Coronavirus School Closures: Impacts of COVID-19 in the Education Landscape

During the COVID-19 national emergency, the future of education is unknown- when will students go back to school? How do teachers implement digital tools in their new ‘virtual’ classrooms? Will standardized tests be waived? What happens once students return to school? Will the work at home be counted toward required instructional days?

While these are all questions that need answers, it is evident that now, more than ever, educational technology platforms play a key role in shaping the future of learning during this crisis.

  • How has the virus affected schools? At this point 39 states have closed schools (91,000 schools) and moved to 100% online learning. Teachers have been asked to adjust their curriculum and daily routines to fit this new virtual classroom requirement. Most schools that offer 1:1 devices for students are sending devices home to ensure students have access to their learning materials. However, schools that don’t have enough devices for each student are sending home paper worksheets, and some digital assignments hoping that students have access to a family device at home.
  • What does canceling school do to families? Most parents/guardians across the nation are now having to manage their own full-time workload from home while trying to take ownership of their childs’ education. Parents are now expected to hold their children accountable for their school work, and check-in on their daily assignments. On the other hand, some families are faced with the financial burden of securing internet connection and technology to ensure their kids can learn at home. Lastly, many families also have uncertainty about their jobs, facing financial stress and potentially unemployment.
  • How will the kids get their education? Educators and companies around the world have stepped up to support students in need as well as their teachers and parents. Teachers have designed at-home learning resources and subscribed to additional learning tools to help support their students. Many teachers are hosting virtual lessons through online meeting platforms such as WebX or Zoom. These virtual meetings, plus other forms of communication, will help teachers stay in touch with students and keep families updated regarding assignments and plans.

How To Homeschool Kids During the Covid-19 Crisis

Most adults crave structure and dislike disorganization and task repetition. Students are no different. As a result, students need a schedule that is organized and consistent with an array of learning activities to keep them focused and productive as we wait for our schools to reopen. Therefore, here are some suggestions for homeschooling your kids during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Go Digital: If you have internet and a device like a laptop, phone, or iPad, then explore the different digital platforms for the different subject areas to ensure remote learning is happening. A great literacy platform with 6,000 informational and literature titles is LightSail Education!
  • Be Creative: Now is your time to explore your child’s interests by having them document their experience of the COVID-19 crisis. They can also engage in fun learning such as team building activities.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with current events (other than the Covid-19) crisis by encouraging your students to read articles on news sites for kids (example: Science News for Kids & Smithsonian Tween Tribune).
  • Stay Curious: Museums & Parks all over the world are offering free virtual field trips and tours during these uncertain times. Help your child log on to museum websites to learn more (example: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Women’s History Museum, Children’s Museum of Houston, San Diego Zoo).

Tips on how to homeschool kids during the closures. How to keep them focused. Do not just let this be vacation and have them sit in front of the TV or video games.


Remote Learning: How To Use Lightsail During Coronavirus School Closures

LightSail is a digital educational reading platform that is designed to engage students in grades K-12 to develop and reinforce their reading skills. Prior to COVID-19, LightSail has been working with schools throughout the world to create a successful virtual learning experience in schools and homes. So, how can you use LightSail to ensure your children or students are learning at home?

  • Student Independent Reading: At LightSail, students have 6,000 texts from different subject areas and topics to ensure they build a love for reading and develop their comprehension. Moreover, each student is given a customized library based on their Lexile reading level and reading interests. As students are reading on LightSail, we collect over 150 data points to ensure you have ongoing monitoring through Reports. We also use these data points to automatically evaluate their Lexile twice a month.
  • Student Assignments: Teachers can build units using our content, or they can import their own content using Content Builder. They can embed additional questions into books and organize the texts in a unit to assign to students. Teachers or parents can easily monitor reports to measure the students’ success and development.
  • Student Reading Incentives: As your child or student reads on LightSail, they will earn badges based on total minutes read, the different types of genres or topics they engage with, or the number of embedded questions that they get correct. This will encourage students to read carefully, practice answering reading comprehension questions and build vocabulary skills. Ongoing Student Goals: A teacher or parent can create personalized (minutes) and reading goals for each student. Ongoing Student Reading Progress Monitoring: With over 150 data points, we offer a wide-range of diverse and comprehensive data reports to help you proactively monitor your students’ or child’s reading progress. More remote learning instructional and implementation information can be found on digital learning community, www.learning.lightsailed.com.


Setting Up a Schedule During Coronavirus School Closings

Keeping Structure While Students are At Home

Throughout the country and the world, many families are working or educating their children at home. For how long? That is yet unknown to many school districts and employers. However, we cannot let the COVID-19 situation become an early Summer Break that results in kids sleeping late, playing video games, using social media in excess, or simply just laying around at home. It is imperative that they have a modified schedule to ensure they have productive learning days. This also helps parents get their work done! We suggest these tips:

  • Have a structured bedtime Monday-Friday with an alarm every morning to get the day started.
  • Set learning times for Math, Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education (like their normal school schedule) – be creative.
  • Be realistic that kids cannot just sit and learn for 2-3 hours straight without a break. Therefore, structure in”brain breaks” for them to then refocus on work.
  • Create at-home “classroom” expectations and agreements to ensure that there is a safe and productive learning environment for them. One strategy is to set incentive and consequence systems to hold them accountable
  • Take into consideration the age of your kids. What works for Pre-School-1st grade might not work for 9th-12th grade students.
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We've gathered information on the topics educators ask us about most often. Each post is written to be insightful, practical and most of all, based on what we know works from our experiences with tens of thousands of classrooms across the country.

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