better students who finish the program (Hiebert, 1994; Shanahan & Barr, 1995; Snow,
Burns, & Griffin, 1998).
Some children (10 to 30%) cannot be discontinued, even after 60 lessons, which
means that many never actually complete the program. Another small percentage are
either referred to special education or are not counted as having completed the program,
even when they have completed a substantial number of lessons. Finally, some children
are not counted because they move from the school or their attendance is poor. The
number of those with poor attendance and high mobility is substantial, particularly in
large urban areas. It follows that there will continue to be a need to maintain alternative
special education services to support the learning of children unable to profit from a
program such as Reading Recovery. Moreover, district-wide policies and programs may
need to be developed for transient and truant students.
Children who complete RR and return to class do not continue to learn at the
same rate as average children in the class, but seem to immediately begin falling behind
again (DeFord, Pinnel, Lyons, and Place, 1990; Glynn, Crooks, Bethune, Ballard, and
Smith, 1989; Shanahan and Barr, 1995). The learning rate of returned RR children was
slower than that of other low-achieving children (Glynn, Crooks, Bethune, Ballard, and
Smith, 1989). Battelle (1995) found that only 53% of the children eligible for RR scored
at the classroom average on the book level measure at the end of first grade.
With regard to policy, the possibility that some children who participate in the
program may need additional support in subsequent years cannot be discounted on the
basis of evidence. This means that shifting all resources for remediation to first grade