By Heather Mallick Toronto Star Columnist
Mon., Nov. 30, 2020 timer 3 min. read
One of the most upsetting losses of the pandemic has been an eight-month delay in improving reading ability in children in Grades 1 to 3. In retrospect it seems obvious that this was likely to happen, but what a loss.
Many children, I would say, leave kindergarten already knowing how to read. But between then and Grade 3, they don’t just absorb the basics and improve their skills, they become able to read to learn.
This year’s spring move to online classrooms — not nearly as good as actual classrooms, not even close — left them behind, Globe and Mail journalist Caroline Alphonso has reported. Some kids will be able to catch up, but struggling readers will also struggle in other subjects, including writing and math, and it will snowball.
The delays will show up throughout their school years.
Worse, the distanced classrooms of this fall have made it harder for teachers to help with young readers who have fallen behind. There are teachers who specifically intervene with struggling readers in Grades 1 and 2, but they may be teaching other classes now, given the intense demands on schools in the pandemic.
Many lucky children will have families with parents and grandparents available to read with them every day, filling the reading gap between school and home. But in a home where both parents work, the extra time isn’t there.
This is the life management gap that had always existed but was laid bare by COVID-19. Canadian families survive on the same just-in-time inventory that big box stores do, with no margin for error.
In industry, goods don’t rest in stores but in distant supplier warehouses. They are quickly put on the shelf when there is demand, although the pandemic revealed that merchandising wasn’t as just-in-time as it thought it was.
If a child can’t read, the school will teach her and give her extra help, as will parents, just in time. But when the school can’t do that, parents at present can’t do that either. They’re trying to work and parent at home, with no extra time for hours of reading.
Everything had been going swimmingly, as long as nothing went wrong. And then it did.
One of the greater sorrows is that children from homes without little libraries in their bedrooms, without quality TV and recreational learning, won’t find it in school libraries either.
Once a child learns to read, the world is open. Theoretically, the birth of a lifelong love of reading can take a child anywhere. The phenomenon of the autodidact, the self-taught, is not spoken of much in Canada — but it is possible for such children to read their way out of bad families, bad surroundings and bad schooling.
“The association between books for children and autonomy for children is very strong.” So imagine losing that opportunity in your first three years of school. It’s a loss for life.
There is another loss when schools don’t operate as usual. It is tough for a child in a bad family situation to learn social skills without being in the presence of other children, who are more than happy to tell you that what you did was not socially skilled at all, or in the parlance “no fair.”
You learn to socialize by socializing. You learn now to make friends, edge away from the scary kids, to join in with new friends, to try new things. We talk a great deal about adult loneliness at this time, but hopefully this is a temporary matter.
The loss of early reading will be a lifetime loss. Reading is everything and is key to Math and Numeracy.
Heather Mallick is a Toronto-based columnist covering current affairs for the Star. Follow her on Twitter
Written by Aardvark Japanese Adult - ESL Academic Student Tokyo Japan
Title: The Challenge to pursue sustainable tourism in the COVID-19 Era
Before COVID 19 lockdowns began in March of 2020 (GOOD), global tourism had been increasingly accessible. In fact, over-tourism was surely becoming a growing concern for many nations around the Globe. For instance, the medieval walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia with a population of 1 million, is well known as a UNESCO Heritage site that was suffering from extreme over-crowding of tourists before the COVID 19 outbreak.
It is well known that Widespread Tourism has caused severe, irreparable damage to Historic sites strained infrastructure and disgruntled the locals. These historic sites are not alone in feeling the negative impact that tourism can bring to historic sites and the natural world. Another example is in Canada, Banff National Park which also experienced a 28% increase in visitors from 2013-2018. As a result at Banff, there was serious traffic congestion, crammed hiking trails and major disruption to delicate ecosystems that supported a diversity of life.
Although unintended, COVID-19 played an important role to shut down the global tourism industry and perhaps ironically, gave wildlife, the local environment and local people a much needed break from the crush of tourist visiting the area.
The concept of sustainable tourism has always been a viable and attractive option. More than 70 per cent of Canadians are in favor of prioritizing things such as nature conservation when talking about economic revitalization. Therefore, sustainable tourism must prioritize sustainability, environmental regeneration, social mobility, employment equality over revenue and numbers-driven metrics. If Tourist and Tourism want to invest for the future, then good management of historic and environmental sites is essential. The community should focus on how to flourish for THE long term instead of relying on more short term touristism and tourist to visit.
Internationally, there are new movements in the Tourist industry. For example, The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has established a baseline standard respecting wildlife, leaving natural sites, intact and disposing of waste safely. Empowered communities and bold business could lead to the post-pandemic climate-friendly solution travel needs. The pioneers in the industry are traditionally entrepreneurs and small players. Hopefully, larger players are incorporate those practices to push the industry forward.
COVID-19 has rapidly spread due to the global tourism which has changed the world dramatically. Unexpectedly some environmental improvements, such as less air pollution are noticeable around the world as a result of less human activities and fewer people travelling globally. Due to covid 19, Consumers now have an opportunity to change their way of life from mass producing and valuing quantity to appreciating less and the quality. Consumers need to be wise to choose the eco-friendly travelling option in order to help promote sustainable tourism in the future.
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