The World Literacy Foundation CEO Andrew Kay is calling for an 'emergency' plan to improve children's reading standards after shock figures revealed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on literacy levels.
After spending months out of school and at home, an increase of 500,000 children are struggling with basic literacy skills due to the disruption in their education.
Mr Kay said children from low-income background were the hardest hit and left behind due to limited access to books, educational tools, and owning a digital device.
The increasing numbers of children from low socioeconomic backgrounds who are struggling with reading, writing and numeracy skills due to the pandemic is a coming economic & personal train wreck according to the CEO of the World Literacy Foundation.
A new initiative called USA Reads was launched this week by the World Literacy Foundation to help stem to rise in illiteracy rates in underserved Zip codes across America. Mr Kay says USA Reads is striving to bridge the gap of falling book ownership of kids from African American, Latino and ethnic minorities. The project will also equip, resource and empower parents to be their child’s first teacher.
Mr Kay outlined his concerns during a speech on World Book Day, Friday April 23 2021 at the official launch of USA Reads.
We need the support of Government, Corporate America, and the community if we are going to make any real impact to reduce the growing literacy gap.
'Making sure children can read and write properly and have the skills they need to prosper is our central focus, said Mr Kay
Addressing literacy experts and leaders at the virtual conference on today, Mr Kay said: 'After all the disruption to our schools, we need to invest in high-quality literacy intervention programs based in the local community. We propose to focus on the Zip Codes of greatest need and to inspire and motivate children to read from an early age.
'It is also central to closing the literacy gap, which the pandemic has cruelly exposed between disadvantaged children and their peers.' said Mr Kay
We are seeking the Biden Administration and State Governors to make a national literacy pledge and work with USA Reads in its bold vision to lift literacy outcomes amongst children living in underserved Zip Codes in America.
Further details www.USAReads.org
CEO, World Literacy Foundation
616 450 5935
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