Sunday, August 19, 2007

Reading Recovery Earns Accolades

The federal What Works Clearinghouse (love the name!) has just published a review of beginning reading programs. (Education Week has an interesting article about it.) The What Works Clearinghouse does not easily recommend any program. The reading programs they reviewed are looked at in four areas, alphabetics, fluency, comprehension, and general reading achievement. They are found to have positive effects, potentially positive effects, mixed effects, no discernible effects, potentially negative effects, or negative effects. Only one program, out of twenty-four, showed positive and/or potentially positive effects in all four areas.

Just one program was found to have positive effects or potentially positive effects across all four of the domains in the review—alphabetics, fluency, comprehension, and general reading achievement. That program, Reading Recovery, an intensive, one-on-one tutoring program, has drawn criticism over the past few years from prominent researchers and federal officials who claimed it was not scientifically based.

Reading this made me want to shout from the rooftops, "Reading recovery works!" Of course it does. In reading recovery trained teachers meet one-on-one with struggling students everyday to read and write. Having observed reading recovery lessons in my school, I have seen firsthand the power in the structure and time spent with these students.

The review is quite fascinating to see. There are very few programs that have earned 'positive effects' in any area much less in multiple. This may be simply because the What Works Clearinghouse is unwilling to slap that label on without significant support for it. Or, it could be that many of our reading programs do not address the full range of skills necessary to read well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes it does work! I was a first grade teacher and oh my goodness I worked hard with students but the ones that had Reading Recovery made such good progress and if they didn't they were usually the students that had been assessed for special education in Kindergarten but the school wanted to see how they did with an excellent intervention like Reading Recovery first.

Thanks for bringing this up as our district has decreased RR teachers for next year by about 25%. I'm afraid what will happen with those that struggle the most. Most likely the people that made the decision to decrease the number receiving RR will not be here in 5 years when everyone is wondering, "what's happening? Why are we getting so many students that are significantly behind in reading." Sad Sad Sad.