Back to School: Making Headway on Post-Pandemic Learning Loss

(Graphic courtesy United Way of Larimer County)


Back-to-school time is one of joy, new beginnings, and reflection. Our team celebrated the start of the school year while also being fully aware of the post-pandemic learning loss that we hope to continue closing the gap on during this coming school year. Research highlighted in a spring ‘23 Chalkbeat article found that “COVID learning loss is driven more by school and community factors than household ones.” 

This has fueled much of UWLC’s commitment to supporting programs to aid in closing the learning loss gap, not just from COVID but from the summer break as well. These programs include: 

  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, also known as the Imagination Library, which provides free, age-appropriate books for children ages 0 to 5. Each child receives 60 age-appropriate books over the course of five years. In August, UWLC celebrated one year of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Larimer County. Since we launched the program last summer, we’ve enrolled nearly 5,400 local children, and over 900 have since graduated. 
  • Colorado Reading Corps, which provides one-on-one literacy interventions for kindergarten through third graders in all three local school districts (Poudre, Thompson, and Estes Park). UWLC brought this transformational program to Larimer County nearly 10 years ago and now provides critical funding to ensure it remains a staple in our local school districts. During the 2022-2023 school year, Colorado Reading Corps Americorps Member Tutors served 602 students at 17 school sites across the county and provided 36,500 individual tutoring sessions. 

“We count on Reading Corps as a vital part of our intervention program. I can confidently say that every student in our building is receiving the supports they need to become proficient readers. Reading Corps serves a population in our building who would otherwise not likely receive that intensity of supports,” said one staff member at Coyote Ridge Elementary School in Thompson School District. 

Stay tuned for more information about how UWLC continues to work with the three Larimer County school districts to create and support programming. 

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