August 17, 2023

Countdown to the 2023-24 school year! Part 3

August 17, 2023

The next school year is right around the corner and the Read Ahead team is hard at work getting ready for another year of reading, mentoring, and joy.

As we count down to Fall 2023, we’re sharing some interesting articles, highlights from last year, and behind the scenes info. We’ll post new info every couple of weeks. We hope you enjoy!


Parents Don’t Understand How Far Behind Their Kids Are in School

A recent survey revealed that around 90% of parents believed their child has either caught up or will be caught up from learning loss during the pandemic. Unfortunately, test results from various schools across the United States have revealed that students have learned far less since the start of the pandemic in the last three years than previous years. Math, reading, and history scores have been significantly lower and student score results show that the average student is half a year behind in math and a third of a year behind in reading. 

Researchers from Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, John Hopkins, and the testing company NWEA are working collaboratively on the Education Recovery Scorecard project, collecting data from over 7,800 communities across 41 states to determine score patterns and analysis. These researchers looked at a number of variables that may affect learning loss due to COVID including school closure duration, COVID death rates, employment data, social activity, daily activities and mental health throughout the pandemic. 

Scientists compared student test scores with earlier test scores decades before the start of the pandemic to current student data. They found that “the pandemic exacerbated economic and racial educational inequality.” The New York Times’ article reported that, “Pre-pandemic, the average student in the poorest districts scored one and a half years behind the national average for their year, and up to four years behind students from the richest 10 percent districts in math and reading. By 2022, the typical student in the poorest districts lost three-quarters of a year in math and more than double the decline of students in the richest district.”

To combat learning loss and social emotional distress from the pandemic, schools and districts are partnering with outside organizations and utilizing summers to combat learning loss. One suggestion is for school districts to partner with other organizations, and scientists suggest school districts find time outside of regular school hours to supplement student education and support using educational software or after school online learning programs.  

Read more about the NWEA survey results in the New York Times article linked above.


To celebrate another successful year at Read Ahead, mentors and mentees were invited to meet in person for the first time since the pandemic had started! In May, mentees and mentors gathered at their respective schools to meet and connect in person. Mentors and mentees had fun conversations, mentors helped their mentees pick out a new book to take home, and mentors and mentees read together and did other reading-based activities. All mentees received a Read Ahead swag bag. The session ended with a celebration of the graduating 5th grade students, with a Read Ahead completion certificate. Mentees and mentors alike enjoyed their End of Year Read Ahead celebration! This upcoming school year, we look forward to inviting mentors to attend in person sessions three times throughout the program year.

Check out other parts of this series on the Read Ahead Blog and learn more about becoming a Read Ahead mentor on our website.