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reading recovery - any positives?

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

  1. Anyone else going down this career path??
  2. Just logged into forums after a summer break. Only a few days to go now before my first RR training day. I've been doing some googling and researching 'learning to read' in general. What a lot of different opinions! I'll let you know mine in a few weeks. Looking forward to hearing from celticcreature too.

  3. From what I have been reading about RR lately, I would suspect that these sort of children would be screened out of RR straight away!
    Looking forward to hearing your reports on the training!
  4. Here' some food for thought:
    1) If you have children who are just not 'getting it', does it ever occur to teachers of those children that their phonics teaching could be better? It seems to me that teachers make the assumption that whatever their phonics teaching consists of, it is automatically as good as it gets.
    2) If the government is only funding RR, is it possible that instead of accepting this wrong state of affairs (why should the government fund a programme? - Why doesn't the government give funds direct to schools to make their own decisions as to whether to spend that money on teachers or TAs and which programmes to use?) - that teachers and schools actually challenge the government on this wrong state of affairs instead of succumbing to it?
    3) Does it occur to teachers that if they completely flout the evidence on reading methods based on their personal experiences and 'understanding' of teaching reading, that they are in danger of burying their heads in the sand regarding long term effects of their teaching methods? It's a hard pill to swallow to consider we do children no long term effects to follow methods which are enticing in the short term. Any school, for example, willing to take on board Reading Recovery as an intervention cannot be a synthetic phonics school as the two methods are opposed. This suggests that such schools were never commited to providing leading-edge phonics practice in the first place.
    I am extremely impressed with the clear honest and dedication of the teachers on this thread who are giving RR a chance (all things considered) and I just hope that they remain open-minded as they are subjected to persuasive RR personnel.
    Most promoters of synthetic phonics teaching are not the least bit precious about the methodology or the programmes used - and are happy to suggest that anyone can become good at teaching by this method relatively rapidly. In contrast, I have been led to understand that RR is the opposite requiring a very long rigorous training and only teachers may do it.
    That in itself sets the scene.
  5. I have been told that my son needs reading recovery. He has just started year 1 and the reason he has been targeted is that he is 6 in a couple of weeks. I find it interesting that he and his best friend are at exactly the same point in terms of their reading (they are still learning to blend) but his friend would not be targeted until next year due to his age. Therefore, friend will have had an extra year of school input by which time he is likely to have caught up as would my son given the time. My mum trained as a rr teacher years ago and is passionate about it but feels it is being used incorrectly in my children's school. I am torn between anger that the issue wasn't raised last year (and that they were not given reading books to take home until July) and feeling that at least he will be getting the help sooner rather than later. I think he is someone for whom it hasn't clicked yet and I am veyr worried that being taken out of his class everyday for 30 minutes by a horrid old witch will turn him off reading which would be awful.
    To the person who said all children who struggle are those who have no support at home - that's utter rubbish. My son is heard and read to every night and he is struggling.
    Sorry that was very long and not very helpful. Good luck with your course OP
  6. You could refuse to let him do RR!
    Do you want him to learn to blend or do you want him to learn to read the pictures and 'identify' words by their first letter or guesswork?
    It's your choice, really.

    Horrid old witch ?[​IMG]
  7. I was trained as a RR teacher in 1994. The children I worked with
    (8) had been expected to achieve W or L1. They all made significant
    improvements and achieved the average in SAT's for a year 2 child, even
    though up until the time I began teaching them with RR their progress
    was low to non existent despite being in school for 3 terms. The lowest
    achieving children in Y1 who have been in school for 3 terms are the
    ones selected. Only one of the children made limited progress and she
    was referred to the School Support Service for further assessment. My
    assessments and work with her all were instrumental in having a
    significant amount of 1-1 support given to her. I left London to work
    in another county where I was unable to have the opportunity to carry
    on my RR work.
    As a SEN coordinator I had the opportunity to
    intervene this year, with a pupil who was not making progress despite
    having had phonics teaching since R. and ELR for a term. The class
    teacher had met with the parents and expressed her concerns and as
    SENCo I had sat in on the meeting. I realised that I could intervene
    with an half hour a day for the next 12 weeks (already nearly at the
    end of year 1) I offered to take the child every morning and use RR to
    establish learning which up until that time he had not been able to do
    despite good phonic work.
    I began working with him. The pace
    was fast (special needs children are usually treated to the: 'they need
    to take a lot of time to learn anything') with a variety of activities
    which all impact on the reading which needs to take place.
    The lesson:
    some words that can be written already,at the start this might be his
    name, = success. Two simple books read, a running record taken of the
    book introduced and read the day before (this informs my choice of new
    book to introduce and direct teaching to take place immediately, all
    this takes approximately 7 minutes.
    Making and breaking of words using magnetic letters. (Kinaesthetic). 2 -3 minutes.
    of a topic and then a sentence created by the child with my support,
    rehearsed so he knows what he is going to write. He then writes what
    he can, practice on an upper page enables learning and teaching to take
    place, overlearning of a word or two by writing over and over again
    after committing to memory, if unable then a quick look allows success.
    The lower page is the 'good' copy, sticky labels used so errors can be
    corrected without any being on the page (important, it does not matter
    if a mistake is made, it can be put right). Sentence is read over and
    over once completed while a copy is made on a strip of card, this is
    then cut as the child reads each word, he then reassembles the sentence
    and rereads again. Put in an envelope with the sentence written on it
    and taken home for homework, this is sealed so a check is made that
    work is being done at home. 10-12 minutes.
    A new reading book is
    introduced, unknown words identified by the child, (unknown vocabulary
    introduced, he might not know that it is a stream, maybe he only knows
    the word river) can you find that word on the page? etc.,
    child will then read with me if I do not think it can be managed alone,
    (critical evaluation, success is all important, he has already met
    failure for the last three terms).
    He then will read it alone.
    In the later stages this becomes much more independent. A book read
    previously, along with the sentence created, to make and read again
    will be sent home to reinforce the teaching and learning which has
    taken place in the RR session.
    The total time taken, exactly 30 minutes.
    is very intense, with not a minute wasted. The child is often visibly
    tired at the end, however, the smiles on the way back to class show
    that his self-esteem is raised and the 'I can' factor is strong.
    So debbiehep, and lilackaty ( horrid old witch!!) come on, as long as there are people who are willing and able to raise a child's self esteem and pitch in where there has been little success does it really matter, as long as the child succeeds, if they don't, then there is the evidence for further investigation and support from the School Support Team.
    So Katiekatie just go ahead and enjoy your time as a RR teacher, it can only be good for you as a teacher and the pupils you teach. Good luck.

  8. ?!?!
    Our reading recovery teacher was wonderful. The kids were desperate to spend time with her because she was so gentle and kind natured (but bloody strict too!)
  9. How does the child learn to read these unknown words. What word identification strategies do you teach?
  10. I think the point being made is not that Reading Recovery won't help the children who receive it, but that those who are helped, will be helped by the increased one on one time they receive - rather than the Reading Recovery method itself.
    I am interested in the view expressed by some teachers here supporting RR, who feel that it benefits children for whom phonics 'have not worked'. Seems to me, very few children are taught phonics according to the recommended 'synthetic' method. ALL primary schools 'teach phonics' (and always have done - it's how I was taught thirty years ago) but they do not teach phonics in the right way, and they do so alongside other, perhaps 'damaging' techniques such as picture cues and guesswork?
    My daughter goes to a high performing school, and I am about to teach in a school twice rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted. Neither teaches reading using synthetic phonics, but rather, use mixed methods. If these 'leading' schools are not taking on board the phonics message, who is?!
    I have been really disappointed by the teaching of reading in my Reception aged daughter's class. Not because she is struggling - she is doing better than average, as are most of her peers - but because already there are two or three children 'falling behind'. My daughter has a good visual memory and a good awareness of phonics, this is standing her in good stead, but I have been infuriated by the teacher's insistence that my daughter is not reading as well as she could because she refuses to use all her 'word attack skills' - that'll be picture cues and guessing then?!
  11. One issue of significance is the one of 'comparison'.
    It seems to me that the government and RR personnel do their utmost to avoid transparent comparison of effectiveness.
    Whilst one 'side' claims one thing and the other 'side' claims the opposite, it is hard to unpick the factors.
    Would a great systematic synthetic phonics programme in good hands be more or less effective in the short and long term compared to Reading Recovery in good hands - both delivered in the same conditions - that is, one to one and with the same time allowed?
    What I do know is that parents SHOULD be informed of the reading debate and they SHOULD have options as to which type of intervention their children receive.
    The issue of reading instruction methods is so important, that in my opinion it is time that schools had to make clear in their prospectus which method they claim to use and be able to prove this is the case for inspection.
    This government (indeed - all politicians in modern times) bang on and on about informing parents and working in partnership with parents - but only want this to be on their terms according to their directives. Schools are held to account where it suits the government but the government cannot apparently be held to account where it is clear that this is needed.
    Does anyone think it is right that the government has funded a specific intervention programme for example rather than give extra allowances to schools to make their own choices?
    And if schools have to account to the Rose criteria for selecting a phonics programme, how come the government itself has failed to apply the criteria to its own chosen intervention programme?
  12. On the thread about 'Year One Phonics - Help!', we are discussing how long phonics lessons should last.
    I have just asked a teacher if she would mind describing what she does in the 20 minutes she allows for her phonics teaching.
    20 minutes is the suggested length of time for phonics teaching in Letters and Sounds.
    Maybe this is half the trouble of why some children are seemingly 'just not getting it' and are being flagged up for intervention.
    I am suggesting that 20 minutes is not long enough by far.
    Although I am not privy to what goes on in infant classrooms up and down the country, I am speculating that we might be getting 20 minutes at most of not necessarily that great phonics teaching.
    This could well be the heart of the matter.
    I suspect that the kind of phonics teaching and learning that I suggest is far more rigorous and systematic - involving far more pupil rehearsal of core alphabetic code knowledge and core skills of blending, segmenting and handwriting - than is typically taking place in most classrooms.
    Over and again people make references nowadays to phonics teaching going on in classrooms - but I bet this is so varied in quality and intensity that it is misleading people to think it is the phonics methodology which is failing rather than any lack of rigour, training or even good programmes.
    One lady has kindly described the intensity of the one to one Reading Recovery lessons for 30 sustained minutes.
    Surely, we should not have to resort to this until we know that we have had equally rigorous synthetic phonics lessons in the classrooms.
    Whilst Letters and Sounds is based on the synthetic phonics teaching principles, it is completely resourceless - and, in my opinion, is still apologetic for rigorous teaching.
    What I mean is that all we ever read and hear is the need for fun and games in phonics teaching - and yet Jim Rose warns in his report about guarding against 'extraneous activities'.
    When I read some of the pleas for help on the TES forums and begin to get a picture of the lack of training, understanding, time allowed in the curriculum, failure to evaluate phonics programmes well enough - and the apologist approach for teaching phonics - no wonder people think they need to resort to expensive and intensive intervention.
    My opinion is that we all need to raise our game regarding early literacy teaching. We need to object, for example, about Year Two children being assessed in genre writing when teachers, arguably, should be focusing on children writing sentences well and applying good punctuation automatically - and being allowed to write freely on a number of topics without having to worry about recognisable structure to the writing for national assessments.
    We still have a lot to address in the infants regarding our literacy teaching which might then lead to reducing the perception that pupils need intensive, expensive one to one programmes.
  13. I think this may be the crux of the lack of will to change. Schools have no extra money to implement changes to reading schemes, or to send teachers for training in synthetic phonics teaching. Consequently, teachers don't have much clue about what 'synthetic' phonics teaching entails and are not confident about reaching beyond their comfort zone. It is hard to abandon all your current practice, when you have been given zero information or guidance about how or why you should implement an alternative method.
    There is also a very prevalent worry about detracting in any way from the 'play based' learning of the Foundation stage. Anything that looks like it might involve long periods of concentration/teaching in FS is likely to be met with opposition because it doesn't sit well with the ethos of play-based learning. The 20 mins cited, is I think, longer than I have observed FS children being taught phonics. For a 5 year old, 10 mins is a long time!
  14. Maizie, I was giving a broad outline of a RR lesson, there are numerous strategies used to learn to read unknown words using the child's strengths which I would be aware of having carried out a detailed assessment of his knowledge, so in my example to enable him to read stream (not river), I would ask when introducing the book before he even attempted the word point to the picture 'What could that be?'' 'River.' 'It could be, it could be a stream,' brief questioning if he had heard of/seen one, if it was stream what would he expect to hear at the beginning of the word, what letter would he expect to see (assuming by this time he knew the sounds of the letter if not he would be told, and shown the letter).
    In writing his sentence, word recognition takes place as part of the lesson, writing the word using their sound/letter knowledge, I write the sound he does not know and he writes what he does know, it is all about using the strengths of the child and adding to them by explicit teaching depending on what word is being read/written.

  15. Thank you to those who responded. The lady who does the reading recovery is not very pleasant and has no people skills whatsoever, which is part of my concern.The children either dislike her or are scared of her. I am aware that this thread is not about me though and so I will stop talking about my own situation.
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I'm in reception and my phonics lessons get longer as more phonemes are taught (and need to be revisited and applied). So tomorrow when I teach /s/ it will be a very short session but by the summer I will be doing 20 mins whole class (x2) plus roughly 20 mins small group. I don't split my whole class teaching into phases.
    One of the things I wondered about the OP was - is the hour lesson going to be daily or once a week? This is an issue I had last term with Y2 when I asked about phonics.
  17. What happens when there are no pictures and no helpful teacher to give the child lots of hints?

    Like what?
  18. mrsmagpie...and are you going to be sitting next to him when he's in grade 5 and there's a word he's never heard of?? There probabley won't be a picture of it either. If he'd been taught to properly de-code he could have de-coded the word "stream" and then either worked out the meaning for himself, using the context and picture or asked. You fed him the word-he didn't have to read it at all!
    Think about it..what do you do when you come across an unfamiliar word? When is that child going to develop the habits that SKILLED readers use? Or is he destined never to become one of that fortunate group, thanks to the bad habits that have been embedded in him through Reading Recovery instruction?
  19. Ah, but don't forget, elene, that RR claims that the children they work with have already had systematic phonics teaching and that has failed. So there teaching 'other strategies' for word identification. The fact that those strategies are useless are neither here nor there because 'success' is measured in 'book levels' achieved in RR lessons and the child is well 'prepared' for each book (viz the example we've been given) and has read it more than once (with help both times).
    The claim that 'phonics has failed these children' is so ridiculous (and they add in the buzz word 'synthetic' now, just for extra indoctrination), how can they be judged to have 'failed to learn with phonics' after just a few months. A school which understands SP teaching and which carries it out properly would not allow RR anywhere near their slower to learn readers. They would be giving them additional rigorous and intensive phonics instruction.
    I think that RR are very clever in their use of language; they hit all the right buttons and are past masters at the subtle drip feed of ever so slightly disparaging words (e.g haven't learned despite synthetic phonics teaching). They also make big metphorical use of that advertising cliche, the person in the white coat symbolising science and knowledge, by emphasising that they are highly trained specialist teachers (implications being that they and they alone have the key to the arcane mystery of teaching reading). It sounds so good. They have even likened themselves to brain surgeons.
    Their latest and most breathtaking spin is their claim to have taken on board synthetic phonics and integrated it into their teaching. They don't have a clue about SP, but the words just hit the right buttons...
    Then they claim to successfully teach the 'hardest to teach' children. That sounds so worthy doesn't it? But firstly, they screen out children who they think they won't succeed with and secondly, they routinely fail to teach 23% of the children they do work with. But who looks through the spin and the worthiness of their cause at what they actually do?
    I have watched the TTV videos of RR in action and I am absolutely astounded at what they are doing to those poor, bright little children.
    Sorry, in a very ranting frame of mind today (worse than usual[​IMG] )
  20. An update from OP.
    I've done 4 training sessions and am feeling optimistic about the RR programme. It seems there is room for a great deal of flexibility, as each session for a child is based on what they know and not on a set introduction of phonemes, graphemes and HFW. Some posters have suggested that much of RR involves 'guessing' and very little use of phonics but from what I've heard so far in the training this isn't the case. The children are encouraged to 'problem solve' and work out unknown words by drawing on what they know, including phonics and knowing that text has meaning. The RR sessions for one child can be very different to those of another child, even though they are reading at the same level.
    It has been very interesting carrying out 'practise' assessments on Year 2 children. 2 of the children were on phase 5, both could blend to read words - one could read a book reasonably fluently, and with enjoyment, the other 'read' the same book slowly by carefully sounding every phoneme in every word. ie. one read a story with meaning, the other read a list of words. For the second child I doubt if learning more alternative graphemes will make much difference to her reading because it seems she is going through the motions without understanding why. So although she will get 20 minutes phonics everyday, what she would benefit more from is more guided reading (currently 20 minutes a week). The whole education system (including 30 in a class) just isn't geared to the wide differences between children (an issue far wider than reading). RR appears to offer an opportunity for a small number of children to learn what they need to learn.
    I haven't re-read all the posts but just wanted to comment on -
    There is no 'screening out' in the authority I'm with. The 4 lowest achieving pupils in the age range are selected - regardless of any other circumstances. Statemented children, those with ESB difficulties, low attenders etc are all included in the programme. The sessions are planned for each child so the starting point isn't a barrier.
    Really looking forward to getting started with the teaching but have a week of doing assessments first. That's another positive - I'll be using the assessments to plan individually not just using them to put similar children into groups.

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