Warm Up

Helpful Words and Phrases

Listen and repeat.

  1. a setback
    • ex. There is a major setback in the product design. We need to have a meeting right away.
  2. lose ground
    • ex. The boy lost ground in math and science. He’s not interested in those subjects.
    • ex. I’m so slow in learning English. I need to catch up.
  3. struggling
    • ex. The struggling businessman hopes that customers will buy his products.
    • ex. He has to master different skills before becoming the head chef.


Read the article below and answer your tutor's questions.

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Students across the United States experienced learning setbacks in math and reading since the COVID-19 pandemic happened. And the most affected are those in third-grade classes last year. They were still learning to how to write their names when the pandemic began. And students lost more ground in reading than those in older grades. Another problem is these students catch up more slowly.

School systems found ways to offer extra help to struggling readers. Using government funds, schools added class time and tutors and trained teachers on how to teach reading. But, despite efforts, the average student would still require about two months of these classes to catch up to pre-COVID reading levels. So, children who don’t master reading in the third grade have a hard time when they get to higher grade levels.

Another problem is that government funds for these extra classes are not enough, and they are quickly running out. Because of this, some experts are concerned. However, researcher Karyn Lewis said children shouldn’t be helpless. She said that the government and school systems should do more to make sure that children will become strong readers.

This material was based on an article by The Associated Press.


Choose a topic and discuss the questions with your tutor.


  • In your opinion, are strong reading skills important? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What books do you think should be required reading in school? Discuss.
  • What should a struggling student do to master reading? Discuss.

Students and the Impact of COVID-19

  • In your country, what do you think was the impact of COVID-19 on students? Discuss.
  • According to the article, many students are struggling with their lessons because of the pandemic. Why do you think students are struggling? Discuss.
  • What can school systems do to help students catch up? Discuss.