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Read Charlotte unites community around literacy recovery due to COVID-19 pandemic

Charlotte, N.C. (June 8, 2020) – Among the challenges families face during the COVID-19 crisis, the potential for learning loss is a top concern. To prevent backslide, educators are aligning around a community-wide initiative: “Reading Checkup” brought forth by Read Charlotte. The organization announced Monday it is partnering with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and over 60 other local groups to encourage families to assess their child’s progress through the free online Home Literacy Coach.

The tool helps families determine the current reading levels of students entering Kindergarten through fourth grade this fall. It also provides suggested at-home activities to keep students on track for reading at grade-level.

“Thousands of children in Mecklenburg County are at risk of falling behind in reading due to school closures caused by the pandemic,” says Read Charlotte Executive Director Munro Richardson. “This ‘COVID-19 Slump’ will be compounded by the traditional ‘Summer Slump’ many children experience during these months. We are committed to guiding families to proven solutions that address the specific needs of children and are realistic to manage. Getting a Reading Checkup is the first step in helping our youngest children thrive in these uncertain times.”

A report released in June by McKinsey and Company estimates that the average K-12 student may lose 7 months of learning by fall 2020 due to school closures caused by COVID-19. But black students may fall behind by 10.3 months, Hispanic students by 9.2 months, and low-income students by more than a year. The report estimates that this would exacerbate existing achievement gaps by 15 to 20 percent.

To combat this dilemma, Read Charlotte is partnering with Learning Ovations, Inc., a California-based company that pioneered Home Literacy Coach. After schools across the country closed in March, the U.S. Department of Education requested Learning Ovations adapt a successful resource for classroom teachers to support home-schooling. A local team, comprised of staff from Read Charlotte, the Helps Education Fund and Augustine Literacy Project-Charlotte collaborated with Learning Ovations to ensure activities can be readily done at home by parents and/or caregivers.

Families are encouraged to visit to begin as soon as possible. Here, parents will:

  • Determine their rising K-4 students’ reading level with two quick online quizzes.
  • Determine the specific reading skills their children need to improve.
  • Receive recommendations for targeted activities they can do at home. 

There is no cost to get a “Reading Checkup” and the minimum technology requirement is a smartphone. Read Charlotte will partner with local community groups to offer support for families using this resource over the summer. Community organizations or companies interested in promoting Reading Checkup can contact Read Charlotte Communications Manager Elise Esasky at for supportive materials.

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Read Charlotte is a collaborative, community-wide initiative to double the percentage of third grade students reading at grade level from 39% in 2015 to 80% by 2025. Housed under the Foundation For The Carolinas, Read Charlotte is organized as a backbone organization leading a collective impact effort across Mecklenburg County. Focusing on the continuum from birth through third grade, Read Charlotte builds collaborative partnerships and provides resources on proven practices and/or programs. Read Charlotte plays a leadership role but does not directly operate the programs. Working groups comprised of experts and community members have helped to select strategies, identify community indicators and define a strategic plan that will guide Read Charlotte’s work through 2025. For more information, visit

Learning Ovations Inc. was founded to bring evidence-based and rigorously tested interventions and instructional practices to schools with the aim of raising learning outcomes for all students. Learning Ovations combines technology and professional development to provide educators with the tools, data, and know-how to effectively individualize literacy instruction from kindergarten through third grade. The patented, A2i technology platform, coupled with professional development is proven to raise reading achievement for all students to at or above grade level by the end of third grade. The A2i professional support system links language and literacy assessment results to recommendations for specific amounts and types of reading instruction through evidence-based algorithms. For more information, visit


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