Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us have had to adjust in various ways to the "new normal." School-age children, for instance, have had to adjust to virtual learning. This has been challenging for many children, even under the best of circumstances – that is, reliable internet access, a laptop or tablet, and a quiet, comfortable space to learn within the home. Imagine the difficulty that children living in a homeless shelter may be having adjusting to virtual schooling.
A recent Washington Post article, What it’s like to learn from inside a homeless shelter, details some of the challenges that children experiencing homelessness have faced since the pandemic has forced schools to close. One major concern is that without the academic resources that are available in school, children who are homeless are at even greater risk for falling behind academically. As stated in a Knowable magazine article, A winter of despair for homeless families, "Many homeless students simply can't keep up, and the setback won't necessarily be temporary: Research shows that kids who are behind in reading by grade 3 are at higher risk of dropping out of school. The learning losses happening right now are almost certainly widening achievement gaps, and are likely to contribute to economic inequality with generational impacts."
To help fill this gap during this time of online learning, Extra-Ordinary Birthdays' (EOB) Extra-Ordinary Readers (EOR) Program introduced the Educational Workbooks Initiative. Under this initiative, each birthday child in grades Kindergarten through 6 is gifted with an age-appropriate educational workbook, along with the three other books that are part of their birthday package. EOR's hope is that these workbooks will supplement the virtual lessons that the children are receiving and help close any educational gaps.
Although this initiative was born out of the desire to help children experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, EOR plans to continue providing workbooks after the pandemic is over. This is another way that EOR seeks to "encourage self-worth and forward thinking toward a bright future for homeless children through reading." To lend your support, please donate to the Educational Workbooks Initiative today!