Reading Recovery

What is Reading Recovery?

Reading Recovery is an early literacy intervention program, designed for children at risk after one year of schooling. The Reading Recovery teacher observes, analyses and interprets the reading and writing behaviour of students and designs individual lessons to meet each student’s unique needs.

Reading Recovery is a prevention strategy aimed at ensuring that there are no no-readers in middle and senior classes, because illiterate children become illiterate adults.

Reading Recovery identifies early the children at risk and delivers an individual teaching plan each day. These plans are aimed at taking the pupil from where he or she is in their learning and lifting their performance so that it becomes appropriate for progressing well in the eyes or his or her particular teacher, in his or her particular class in our school. Reading Recovery is designed to intervene early so that children are not given the time to practice their confusions and make them habitual and to enable children to catch up while the learning gap is comparatively narrow. It is the intensity of the teaching, the consistency of the support, the immediacy of the feedback and the quality of the teaching that makes the instruction so effective.

At risk children must learn at a faster rate than average children in the class in order to be able to catch up in a relatively short period of time. At Hampton Primary School we make available the best possible lessons, for the hardest to teach children as early as possible, so as not to severely limit any child’s ultimate achievement in school learning.

In order to accelerate children, Reading Recovery lessons are different for each child. The teaching approach is developed from how the individual child actually learns to read and write and not from a pre-conceived notion of how we think each child should learn. Detailed observations and records are kept for each student on a daily basis and a running record is taken each day and from it the child’s reading behaviour is analysed.

Problem solving strategies are taught such as:

  • Noticing discrepancies when reading
  • Checking two or more sources of information against each other to make sure a word is the right one
  • Searching for further information to check predications
  • Self-correcting responses that do not match the text

The Reading Recovery teacher uses prompts in order to help children to problem solve on the text. For example:

  • NoticingWas that OK? Why did you stop?
  • CheckingIt could be _ but look at the _.
  • SearchingTry that again and think of a word that makes sense.
  • Self-correctingI liked the way you worked that out all by yourself. I liked the way you reread the sentence, thought about the story and had a good look at the wording.

Reading Recovery also gives the highest priority to writing.

It is through the daily writing sessions that children learn to analyse print.

The Reading Recovery teacher is teaching for in-head-strategies, so that children become independent readers and writers. The teacher helps children to attend to the details of print and gives them strategies for remembering the spelling of words used in their writing. Ways of hearing and recording the sounds in words are taught. Students learn to use interesting words from the books they are reading in their writing.

The level of difficulty at which the children can read is gradually increased, until it matches a level, which is appropriate for their class. Reading Recovery students are taught to notice letter sound relationships and letter patterns in words when reading and writing and to read texts using the appropriate phrasing and fluency.

Hampton Primary School offers Reading Recovery because of the value it places on children’s literacy. The individually delivered lessons provide the intensive care that result in the fastest recovery of a normal trajectory of progress for any child.

The school’s aim is to ensure that all children can read by the end of their third year of schooling. Acceleration is achieved when the child takes over the learning process and starts making discoveries and connections for him or herself.

As a team of classroom teachers and a Reading Recovery teacher we want to give children wings so that they can learn to learn for themselves.

Judy Van Pelt

Reading Recovery Teacher