Dr. Toni M. Vanino
What is Reading Recovery?
Reading Recovery is a wonderful intervention program combining the strengths of the parent who is the child’s first teacher and the reading professional. It is an effective intervention of one-to-one tutoring for first graders who have challenges in literacy development. Individual students receive a 30-minute lesson each school day for 12 to 20 weeks with a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher. As soon as students can meet grade-level expectations and demonstrate their ability to work independently in the classroom, their lessons are discontinued, and new students begin individual instruction.
The program involves both the parents and the teacher. Books that have been read in class are sent home to be reread with the parents. In addition, a cut-up sentence is sent home to be reassembled. The home reading is very important. It promotes fluency and allows the child to practice the strategies learned with the Reading Recovery teacher. Children who read with their parents at home have a much better chance for success than those who do not.
The lesson involves seven major components. Before the lesson, the child practices fluent writing of words that were learned on previous days. Then the lesson begins with the child re-reading books that have been read before. This allows the child to practice his/her reading strategies on books that are familiar to them. This promotes initial success. Next, the child will reread the book that was introduced the previous day, which allows the Reading Recovery teacher to assess what the child knows and what the child needs to learn at that particular time. Following the assessment, the teacher chooses the most pertinent strategy to teach the child. After this, letter work begins. This may involve sorting plastic letters and learn to look at the distinctions between the letters. Once the letters are mastered, this part of the lesson changes to word work. Concentration is put on word chunks and recognizing them in various words.
Eventually, the lesson changes to writing. The child and teacher have a discussion and decide on a “story” for the child to write. As the child writes, he/she is encouraged to stretch out the words as they are said to hear the sounds. Sound boxes are used to help the child figure out the letters in the words to be written. Phonics comes strongly into play during this part of the lesson. After the story is written and reread, the teacher copies it onto a strip of paper. It is then cut apart for the child to reassemble. The cut-up sentence is sent home to be completed and arranged once again.
The lesson turns again to reading and the teacher introduces the new book to be read. There is to be no mystery about the book and the teacher makes sure that the child understands the meaning of the book and any difficult words or expressions that may be used in the book. Lastly, the child reads the book on his own. The teacher is there to lend assistance at the few places that it should be needed.