Children Facing Drastically Lower Reading Ability Compared to Pre-COVID Times: German Study

Reading ability of fourth-graders drastically dropped since pre-pandemic assessments of children in the same grade.
  • A recent study showed that fourth-graders today have significantly lower reading levels than those who were tested before the pandemic.
  • The study was conducted by researchers from TU Dortmund, according to Breitbart News, and found that the nine-year-olds were underperforming compared to the kids who passed the grade before lockdowns.
  • UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) warned that children worldwide have suffered “a nearly insurmountable” loss of learning due to school closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • A Press Release from the researchers showed that standardized testing was stark, falling by more than seven percent since 2016 with the children struggling with reading comprehension increasing to over 25% of those who took the test.
  • “If you express it in years of learning, the children are missing an average of half a year of learning,” explained Dr. Ulrich Ludewig, who helped to lead the study.
  • “If the change in the composition of the student body is taken into account, the gap while slightly smaller, the significant decline in mean reading ability remains.”
  • “The simple fact is that school shutdowns are much more harmful to children than COVID-19 is, and by once again closing down schools, we’re blatantly ignoring this reality,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), urged US authorities to halt school closures back in January. “Shame on anyone who is allowing their own fear or political agenda to let our kids fall further behind.”
  • Previously, UNICEF warned about the damage that the school closures could do to children worldwide.
  • “Students need intensive support to recover lost education. Schools must also go beyond places of learning to rebuild children’s mental and physical health, social development and nutrition,” UNICEF education chief Robert Jenkins said.