Thursday, August 16, 2007

Reading - What works

We recently had a discussion at our school about the value of Reading Recovery as an intervention program for students in Grade One who for whatever reason have not learnt to read as expected. As an ex Reading Recovery teacher I was very disheartened to hear that our region is reducing the level of support provided to schools to run the Reading Recovery program by changing the training of new teachers to every second year instead of every year. I'm not sure what this means for RR teachers who are already trained and working in schools. Traditionally they have a 6 weekly meeting called Continuing Contact where they meet with their RR tutor and discuss the progress of their students.
Today I came across an interesting article at the What Works Clearing House - a website that provides scientific evidence of what works in education. The article, entitled Beginning Reading discusses reading interventions for students in grades K–3 (or ages 5-8) that are intended to increase skills in alphabetics (phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, letter recognition, print awareness and phonics), reading fluency, comprehension (vocabulary and reading comprehension), or general reading achievement. According to the studies done so far Reading Recovery is the only one that has shown effectiveness in all four of the above areas. It simply reinforces what I have believed all along. The Reading Recovery program really does work. I have seen it in action and I know of many ex students who have continued to soar once they have been through the program. Without it they may have been in the too high percentage of children who slip through the cracks and end up without a functioning literacy.

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