1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

reading recovery - any positives?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by katiekatie, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. I've recently accepted a position to train/teach as an RR teacher. I wasn't given much information about it when my Head suggested it would suit me but the 1:1 appealed to me and so did the training aspect. Since then I've read a few threads on tes and am beginning to think its not the 'right' thing to do. I'm a believer in phonics and it is taught daily in the school in FS and KS1 (also to small groups in KS2). Now I know a bit more about RR it seems it may confuse the children. The school has recieved funding from the LA for the post, so even though I think the money would be better spent on employing me to teach a smaller group phonics (rather the groups of 15-20 we have now), if it wasn't for RR funding then there would be no post of any sort.
    Basically i've accepted the post and so will 'do the job' but I'd feel a lot happier if anyone could share some positive experiences. 4 children will be getting some 1:1 attention which I see as a good thing but are there other benefits?
  2. We have a RR teacher in our school and I have seen the children on it make massive progress not only in their reading, but in their writing and their general confidence, motivation and attitude to work in class.
    I have seen 8 of my children absolutely blossom and progress on the program.
  3. I have a friend who is one of two specialist RR teachers in an extremely 'tough' school that has just been awarded an 'outstanding' from Ofsted. She is passionate about Reading Recovery and has seen enormous advances in the children she teaches. Only last week she was proudly telling me about a little boy who has gone from a reading level of 1c to a 3b in the space of 6 months. As I understand it though, RR needs whole-school dedication and support (financially and time-wise). As with most things, half-measures are not an option.
  4. We also have a RR teacher, and children have made brilliant progress. I agree with you about the importance of phonics, but think children need to embed their phoinic knowledge by using it regularly, and also do need to learn sight words and use other strategies to help them read as our language is so tricky phonics just does not always help.
    I watched the RR do a RR session the other day and it was excellent. The 30 minute session had so much packed into it in an interesting and exciting way, and i left with ideas myself on how to help teach reading. Before each book the teacher whizzes through the pages and gives a brief explanation/discussion of the story to give the child the background context, then they begin reading together. The RR teacher fills in a running record form as the child reads which allows her to note any words the child struggles with, and then adapts the lesson to help. The next day this will be followed up, and the book will be revisited, whilst introducing a new book. They also do some writing about something of interest to the child, focussing on a tricky word, and mistakes are corrected (something we often feel guilty doing too much of in the classroom for fear of squashing enthusiasm and confidence).
    I think what RR does is relate all the reading teaching we are doing already, incorporate 1:1 time for consolidation and revisiting whilst focussing on specific issues, and throw in a massive dollop of 'realness' and context. We teach phonics so seperately to actually reading books, that children are at risk of becoming robotic with phonics and not applying it in a reading context in order to read and understand a book. Two of my Y2 children this year have good phonic knowledge, can decode alot of words, but have absolutely no awareness of context or inferance in text. They spend so long trying to decode words (including those you cant!) that they lose the storyline, and i think RR is brilliant at bringing the context and interest back into reading.
    Sorry i harped on a bit there - its just that one of my bug bears is that we have so little time in school to listen to individual readers, and when we do it is rushed and we have little time to support and focus constructively (especially with many other children around the classroom to keep an eye on). I would go for it!
  5. I'm not a RR teacher, but i do work with groups of children for literacy support. It is very clear to me in these groups which children have had RR. Often I find myself going to RR teacher and saying 'have you had x' for RR, and she'll nearly always say 'Yes,' the benefits and results are so evident.
  6. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Similar to milliebear, we had one 8 year old child who had lots of extra support over the years( though none from home) and in the 6 months of RR he made 2 levels progress from 1 to 3. Is the funding nationwide as I am really interested in this. I work part time in a deprived area. Children in KS2 are taken out in groups of up to 10 for maths and english for various intervention programmes and an SEN teacher works with individuals or pairs once a week, but nothing specific and daily for reading. Our school would certainly benefit.
  7. Thanks everyone. I'm feeling much better about RR now.
    'impulce' your long post was particularly helpful and reassuring. From the information I had I thought 'wow, what a great opportunity for early readers' but i like I said in my original post it was posts on tes that started me having doubts. Some strong opponents of RR were posters who I've read other posts from and see them as 'knowing what they're talking about' but I'm sure you and other repliers to my post do too. No doubt I'll find out for myself in the next few months.
  8. marymoo - Our posts crossed! I think the funding is just in certain areas. London, Sheffield, E Yorks and E Lincs are the ones I've heard of and its for 6 year olds only as this is the 'window of opportunity' apparantly (despite it obviously working for an 8 year old). There is RR website which has contact details for local RR trainers.
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The TES reported that Queensland, Australia is dropping use of the Reading Recovery programme due to fears that the gains children make do not last.
    British government has given £5 million towards a three-year pilot of Every Child a Reader, (2005-2008) a scheme that uses Reading Recovery as part of its approach. However, Australian state funding of the progamme is gradually being withdrawn because offices say improvements in pupils are temporary.

  10. I am not sure of the precise research the Australian Government has based its decision on, although clearly, they are convinced. This link has an interesting rebuttal of various criticisms of the programme, and in particular, a rebuttal of the criticism that effects are not lasting:

  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The Australian decision was based on a number of independent pieces of research in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

  12. Any links? RR is one of the most researched interventions in the world. Much of the research into its efficacy has been exhaustively peer reviewed, so I am surprised the Aussies feel they have enough current research to overturn previous findings.
  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Agreed RR has conducted a great many pieces of research indicating it's success
  14. Hmm - why choose not to quote the part about it being peer reviewed?! I have no particular interest in Reading Recovery. I am though, interested in evidence based teaching and learning.
  15. There is nothing positive to say about RR [​IMG]
    What's Wrong with Reading Recovery:

    Recovery (RR) is a 1-to-1 programme taught by specially trained
    teachers and used with a very narrow age group; the lowest achieving
    Year 1 children. National Co-ordinator for RR, Julia Douetil, claims
    that, "These are children for whom, for some reason, phonics hasn't
    worked" (Independent 30/10/08). Over
    the course of a year the school's RR teacher will give 4-9 children
    individual tutoring for half-an-hour daily; around 90-100 sessions for
    each child. Despite this massive input, a significant number (23% :RR's own figures) of
    children are failed by the programme and are 'referred on', a euphemism
    for 'need further intervention'. Apart from the ridiculousness of using
    a whole language programme for reading intervention, an additional
    problem is that, in order to justify the considerable cost of their
    employment** the RR trained teacher/s in a
    school are being encouraged by the DCSF to 'impact on' the 'quality
    first' (Wave1) teaching, that is, influence the synthetic
    phonics teaching in the reception class, and on the literacy teaching
    throughout the school. This has the affect of changing the teaching of
    reading in the school back to MIXED METHODS.
    In addition, its use will undermine the still fragile confidence and
    knowledge-base of the majority of teachers who are new to using
    synthetic phonics. The combination of RR's impact on literacy teaching,
    the continuing use of whole language reading books and weak synthetic
    phonics training will, naturally, affect a school's literacy teaching
    in reception, leading to a steady stream of children who need reading interventions in Year 1 and beyond.


    Feb. 2009. ECaR: Time to Stop Digging. .


    April 2009. See pages 37-40


    June 2009. Chris Singleton's dyslexia report slams RR -see p95-118.

  16. Have you experienced it first hand?
  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Sorry I didn't have time this morningbut here are a few of the research docs

    1. Center, Y., Wheldall, K., and Freeman, L. (1992). Evaluating the effectiveness of Reading Recovery: A critique. Educational Psychology, 12, 263-273.
    2. Center, Y. et al (1995). An experimental evaluation of Reading Recovery. Reading Research Quarterly, 30, 240-263.
    3. Elbaum B. et al. (2000). How effective are one-to-one tutoring programs in reading for elementary students at-risk for reading failure? A meta-analysis of the intervention research. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 605-619.
    4. Grossen, B., Coulter, G., and Ruggles, B. (1997). Reading Recovery: An Evaluation of Benefits and Costs. (University of Oregon).
    This excellent review is published on-line and is available to download. ( Google-- Reading Recovery: The Claims Versus the Facts.)
    5. Hiebert, E. (1994). Reading Recovery in the United States: What difference does it make to an age cohort? Educational Researcher, 23, 15-25.
    6. McGuinness, D. 1998. Why Children Can’t Read. Penguin Press.
    (See pages 210-213 for review of research on Reading Recovery.)
    7. Shannahan, T. and Barr, R. (1995). Reading Recovery: An independent evaluation of the effects of any early instruction intervention for at-risk learners. Reading Research Quarterly, 30, 958-996. (Probably the definitive paper on this topic.)
    8. Wasik, B.A. and Slavin, E. E. (1993). Preventing early reading failure with one-to-one tutoring: A review of five programs. Reading Research Quarterly, 28, 179-200.
    9. Letter to the US Congress. Published in EducationNews.org. May 20, 2002. Available on-line. Signed by 31 top researchers in the field.

    most common remedial reading program used in Australian schools is
    failing the students who most need help and some studies suggest the
    gains produced are lost in the following two years or so.

    review of 20 years' research into Reading Recovery, just published in
    the International Journal of Disability, Development and Education,
    says the program has not delivered all it promised, particularly
    long-term benefits for students and a significant reduction in the need
    for special education services.

    "The success of the program appears to be inversely related to the
    severity of the reading problem. A student with a severe problem is
    unlikely to be a success," it says.

    "In some studies, research has shown that short-term gains are often
    not retained and that these have all but disappeared by Year 3, Year 4
    or Year 5.

    "Although it has been implemented for 15-20 years in some education
    systems, Reading Recovery has not demonstrated that it has dramatically
    reduced literacy failure within education systems."

    Results published by the NSW Education Department on the basic
    skills test conducted in years 3 and 5 show that only one in three
    ex-Reading Recovery students reached the state average.

    The review conducted by researchers from Macquarie University,
    including one of the nation's leading literacy experts Kevin Wheldall,
    says the one in three students who are helped by the program would
    probably have caught up in their reading skills anyway.

    Reading Recovery is offered to the bottom 20 per cent of readers in
    every Year 1 class, providing them with one-on-one tuition to bring
    them to the level of the average reader in their class. It is widely
    used throughout Australia, particularly in NSW and Victorian schools as
    the main way of helping children struggling with reading.

    Professor Wheldall yesterday said the argument over Reading Recovery
    was not whether it was effective but whether it was effective enough.

  18. Thanks, will have a Google!
  19. I dont give a s h i t about documentation and research.
    Ive seen children make excellent progress (Not to mention the sheer confidence they get from getting 1:1 support) and have smiles on their faces, whilst exclaiming their love for reading. Ive had children that hated reading ask to read a book. Ive had children proudly come and show me things theyve written and read during RR sessions.
    If pompous toffs in suits want to focus on those few children that dont make progress then so be it, but unless you've worked alongside RR first hand you have no true judgement.
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Surely daily 1-1 support using most systems would see an improvement.
    and I've had exactly the same experiences and we don't use RR....

Share This Page