Dallas-based Istation Partners With Tackle Tomorrow To Address Students’ Learning Regression Due to ‘COVID-19 Slide’

The ongoing pandemic is expected to widen the ‘summer slide’ of children’s learning loss over summer break, but Istation hopes to decrease COVID-19’s impact on students' education through a new online reading series.

Children left the classroom for the school year sooner than expected in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic halting traditional schooling for most children in March and April. To prevent children’s learning loss over the extended break from school, Dallas-based Istation is partnering with Tackle Tomorrow to launch Istation Reads, a new online reading series.

Founded in 1998, Istation, or Imagination Station, provides game-like educational technology for students in small groups in the classroom. Istation offers programs for reading, math, and Spanish to fully engage students and encourage learning, while tracking their overall progress.

Beginning July 1, celebrities will be reading short stories aloud for children, along with providing comprehension questions and discussion points to ensure students “will learn and apply reading skills and strategies to comprehend the text,” according to a statement.

Through Istation Reads, children will have the opportunity to participate in the summer program and learn from celebrities on Istation’s YouTube channel, including Charley Haley, pro football Hall of Famer and co-founder of Tackle Tomorrow; Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson; Jake Hoot, The Voice’s season 17 champion; and Nancy Lieberman, Basketball Hall of Famer and two-time Olympics silver medalist.

Haley co-founded Tackle Tomorrow along with Bob Bowie to place educational software such as computers and tablets, as well as Istation’s program, into low-income areas.

“Growing up, education was never pushed on me, and I still lack in reading and writing,” Haley said in a statement. “I understand what it’s like to struggle in school, and I’ve made it my life’s mission to provide children with the tools they need to find their love of learning.”

A chart from Istation’s “Reversing the Summer Slide” case study. [Image: Courtesy Istation]

Istation Reads videos will be published on their YouTube channel each weekday at 3 p.m. Along with the online videos, Istation Reads will provide printable resources, including short stories, books, and comprehension questions. Children of all reading levels are encouraged to participate in the program.

“By taking what we know about the detrimental effects of summer slide on a child’s reading ability, we understand the implications the COVID-19 school closures will have on students,” said Lori K. Lynch, the senior vice president of customer success at Istation, in a statement. “We want parents to know they have immense power when it comes to making sure their child’s reading ability stays strong. And Istation Reads is an easy way for students to practice their reading skills while away from school.”

Recently, Istation was selected as the winner of the “Online Learning Innovation Award” by EdTech Breakthrough, a market intelligence organization that recognizes top companies in the global educational technology market. 

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