Reading Recovery: Sucess or Failure

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Reading Recovery is an intervention program designed to address the needs of first grade students who score in the lowest percentile on achievement tests in reading and writing. The program provides one-to-one tutoring, administered in the normal school day by a specialized teacher. Specially trained teacher leaders provide training for RR teachers and the training program awards the trainee graduate-level credits at major universities (RR Website). The RR training is aimed at improving the teachers’ theory of how children learn, as well as, the teachers’ strategies for teaching. Upon identification as a candidate for the Reading Recovery program, students are giving additional instruction in reading and writing through daily 30-minute sessions for approximately 16-20 weeks. This additional instruction covers many topics designed to increase the students’ knowledge of print. The Reading Recovery Website lists six tasks covered through daily tutoring: letter identification, word recognition, concepts about print, vocabulary, word sounds, and text reading. Through these six tasks, the goal of Reading Recovery has hinged on the idea that early intervention will “dramatically reduce” the numbers of students who require special education services by helping students “develop effective reading strategies” (RR website). The Reading Recovery program is a research-based approach that was first developed and implemented in New Zealand during the 1970s. Following the 1970s, Reading Recovery spread throughout England, Australia, and the United States. During the last thirty years there have been significant studies performed to validate the widespread use of the program. Most studies conclude that the Reading Recovery program is highly successful; however, there are also studies that indicate that student achievement is only short term and gains made in the program

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