ELMSFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The New York State PTA is offering to help parents of young children who worry their kids have fallen behind on reading.

It’s a concern every summer, but especially after months of remote and hybrid instruction, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Thursday.

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Between remote learning and many libraries being closed until recently, concerns about a summer slide in children’s reading skills are high.

“Countless studies are showing that the learning loss associated with remote, virtual schooling is profound,” said Tom Gabriel of United Way of Westchester and Putnam.

Gabriel said that’s why United Way is subsidizing access to Reading Checkup through the state PTA.

It’s an online assessment for children up to third grade to gauge their reading skill level, identify weak spots and provide downloadable materials to help them improve.

“We’ll actually provide that parent and that family a meaningful assessment and tools, meaningful content, meaningful program that they can use to support their child and their literacy reading,” said Kyle Belokopitsky from the state PTA.

New York parents can access the program through NYSPTA.org. The fee is just $16. The United Way will help pay for families that cannot afford it.

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One mom said she’ll use the program to make sure her kids are reading up to speed.

“I want to be armed with the most education on how to get my children the best education,” said Julia Rogers.

Reading Checkup focuses on younger children. Experts say reading is vital for students of every age.

“Sixty percent of learning goes on in the school. The rest goes on outside of school,” said Alana Sweeny from Learning Ovations.

It’s important for parents to set the example – kids need to see you read.

“Seeing a parent read a newspaper daily, whatever, encourages the child to try to model the same behavior,” said literacy expert Mary McNamara.

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Experts say 20 minutes a day is a reasonable goal that should help students be prepared for the fall.

Tony Aiello