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Reading Recovery: A Scientifically Based Analysis - page 8 / 21





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compared to much less time for the other groups. The group that equaled RR method in

time spent reading familiar books equaled RR in outcome data. However, after three

months, post-tests using standardized measures did not reveal any statistical differences

among the treatment groups, although the RR group continued to maintain its gains—12

months later—on those measures that are specific to RR (Clay’s concepts of print and

dictations tasks).

Does it work for all low-achieving students?

Center et al. (1995) in an analysis of the individual cases of three groups of

students participating in RR concluded that children with poor metalinguistic knowledge

are less likely to be successful in RR. This hypothesis was supported by Iverson and

Tunmer (1993), who conducted a study that included a condition in which they modified

RR to include explicit code instruction involving phonograms. Children who were

assigned to the modified condition achieved criterion performance more quickly than

children in the standard condition.

RR targets the lowest 10-20 percent of first graders who have the prerequisite

skills for RR. While research distributed by developers of RR indicates a positive effect

of the program, analyses by independent researchers have found serious problems with

these conclusions. Studies conducted by researchers associated with RR typically exclude

25-40% of the poorest performing students from the data analysis. Studies funded by the

National institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and of Office of

Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the Department of Education never purposely

exclude a child. Elbaum (2000) reported that gains for the poorest readers who do

complete the RR sequence in first grade lose much of their gains, even in the 65-75% of

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