We know that students backslide in the summer when they are out of school. For many students, COVID will result in even more than the usual amount of learning loss.
A lot of parents have been faced with trying to keep learning going at home during the COVID school shutdowns, and many were frustrated, especially when they discovered that their students were already struggling academically in ways they hadn’t previously realized.
So there’s a lot at stake as parents and students grapple with learning gaps and the uncertainties of what it will take to catch up from COVID. Here are three keys to COVID Catch-Up:
You can’t cram six months of learning into three months… Or can you? You can if you focus on helping your child develop their cognitive capacity.
Cognitive capacity is determined by a student’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Building up weaker cognitive skills can dramatically accelerate a child’s learning ability and their academic performance.
Cognitive capacity can be strengthened with cognitive training. In research studies, students who receive 12 weeks of cognitive training have improved their cognitive abilities by 2 to 4 years and academic performance on reading and math tests by 1 to 2 years
Every child is unique. Understanding a child’s cognitive profile (their cognitive strengths and weaknesses) enables us to identify learning strategies that are best suited to helping them learn most deeply and efficiently. What works for one type of learning profile could be a complete waste of time (or even counter-productive) for another. There are thousands of evidence-based learning strategies so targeting those that will be effective for your child’s unique learning profile is critical.
Once your child has a stronger foundation for learning and a personalized set of learning strategies suited to how they learn, the third key is to engage them in programs that rely on solid neuroscience and how the brain learns.
What does a neuroscience-based reading or math program look like? First, it will be highly engaging, even game-like. Second, it will explicitly incorporate development and practice of the cognitive skills that are most important for mastery of that academic content. For example, a reading program will develop and practice visualization and working memory as part of reading comprehension, not just assume that the student has that and let them struggle if those specific cognitive skills are not as strong.
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