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Encore: “America's Embarrassing Reading Crisis: What we learned from COVID”

Dr. Lisa Richardson Hassler
Dr. Lisa Richardson Hassler

This episode originally airedon June 27, 2022.

Reading scores for students in Florida’s schools, and across the country, have been declining for at least the past decade. And the latest test results, taken after the COVID pandemic, show that 47% of Florida’s 3rd graders are not reading on grade level.

Data shows that if a student is struggling in third grade they are very likely to struggle in middle school and beyond. Eighty-percent of high school dropouts were struggling readers in 3rd grade.

In the new book "America's Embarrassing Reading Crisis: What We Learned From COVID" Dr. Lisa Richardson Hassler explores reading proficiencies among third-graders, both pre and post-pandemic, and compares established virtual learning methods like those used by Florida’s Virtual School with traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

Dr. Richardson Hassler teaches 2nd grade at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice and has spent two decades in the classroom.

Her research shows that over the past several years, Florida Virtual School (FLVS) students have scored higher on the statewide third-grade reading exam than in-person students. In her new book she makes the case that there are lessons to be taken from the sudden implementation of online learning during the pandemic, and that thoughtfully blending online learning with brick-and-mortar learning could help turn around the decline in reading proficiency we’re seeing in Florida and around the country.