CRANE RESEARCH FORUM RECAP – Beyond Learning Loss: Exploring the Implications of COVID for Early Language and Literacy Development

March 2024

Learning experiences in the early grades play a crucial role in preparing children to be strong readers, writers and thinkers across content areas. What happens when these early learning experiences are disrupted?

In a longitudinal study, Dr. Elizabeth Hadley followed children, whose pre-kindergarten year was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through the end of first grade, investigating the impacts of COVID on their language and literacy development. In this presentation, Dr. Hadley explores implications of findings from this research, including the extent to which state-funded pre-K supports children’s language and literacy skills and which kinds of language and literacy skills are impacted most when children lose access to in-person instruction.

Dr. Hadley’s work centers on intentionally and equitably fostering language and early literacy development in pre-K classrooms, especially for children from marginalized communities and from families experiencing poverty. Dr. Hadley has been published in top journals and won awards including the Early Career Award from the Early Education/Child Development SIG from the American Educational Research Association.


Access one of the research papers that Dr. Hadley has published on this topic for more details and insights.

Here is the citation for and link to the research paper on masking’s impact on language learning that was referred to by Dr. Hadley in her presentation:

Surrain, S., Mesa, M. P., Assel, M. A., & Zucker, T. A. (2023). Does Assessor Masking Affect Kindergartners’ Performance on Oral Language Measures? A COVID-19 Era Experiment With Children From Diverse Home Language Backgrounds. Language, speech, and hearing services in schools, 54(4), 1323–1332.