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Reading Recovery: A Scientifically Based Analysis - page 2 / 21





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It is intended to be a temporary program. When a student shows evidence of an

independent system for reading and can read material typical for his/her class, the

program is discontinued, making room for another student.

Does Reading Recovery Work?

Reading Recovery implementers in the United States (DeFord et al. (1987),

Pinnell et al. (1994), and Pinnell et al. (1995) as well as a number of syntheses and

reviews including Center et al. (1995), Hiebert (1994), Rasinski (1995), and Shanahan

and Barr (1995) investigated the question of “Does Reading Recovery work?”

Yes, many children leave the program with well-developed early reading

strategies, including phonemic awareness and knowledge of basic spelling. Multiple

assessments attest to the effectiveness of RR. A five year study and evaluation conducted

by the superintendent and three RR lead teachers at San Luis Coastal Unified School

District (SLCUSD) demonstrated (Brown, et al. 1999) that three fourths of the children

who successfully completed RR in first grade achieved standardized test scores on both

the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Stanford Achievement Test-9 (SAT-9) in

grades two, three, four and five when RR is put in place and maintained as a concerted

and prolonged system-wide early intervention effort. 760 children were selected for

participation and received at least one lesson. A total of 613 children were successfully

discontinued (84 % met program goals). 147 children out of 760 received less than a full

RR program. 71% (104) began RR too late in the year to complete the program by year’s

end; 17% (25) moved from the district; 10% (14) were place in special education

programs prior to receiving a full program; and 3% (4) were dropped because of poor

attendance. Only 8 RR children were retained in grade, 6 of these were retained in first

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