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Running head: MODIFIED READING RECOVERY

Reading Recovery Modifications that will Enhance Intervention


Effectiveness and Reach More Students
Kaylie Williams
Vanderbilt University

MODIFIED READING RECOVERY

Literature Review and ProposalTable

Abstract

of Contents

Introduction

Components of a Typical Reading Recovery Lesson


Effectiveness of Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery Observation Survey Results 10


Reading Recovery Effects According to a Third Party Organization 12
Effectiveness of Reading Recovery According to Non-Reading Recovery
Associated Assessment Measures 14

Critiques From Third-Party Organizations & Researchers


Modified Reading Recovery Proposal 19
Rationale
19
Research Question 20
Method
20
Measures
22

Citations 24

17

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Abstract

MODIFIED READING RECOVERY

Reading Recovery is one of the most widespread and discussed


interventions available for young struggling readers. The intervention,
created more than 30 years ago, targets the lowest performing firstgraders, and hopes to accelerate a challenged students learning to the
approximate literacy level of their peers within 12-20 weeks of
intervention (Basic Facts). There is conflicting evidence and mixed
reviews over Reading Recoverys ability to increase reading skills in
young students. Some claim the program is not cost effective,
organizes data inadequately, uses nonstandard measurement units,
and/or does not leave a lasting impact on student achievement.
However, there is also plenty of hard evidence from both Reading
Recovery and third party reviewers/researchers that support the
interventions statistically significant and enduring effects on student
achievement. In this review of literature, the author describes the
intervention, presents existing effectiveness data from multiple
sources, expresses a variety of critical views towards the program, and
proposes research to study a modified version of the intervention that
may increase the scope and impact of Reading Recovery. The modified
Reading Recovery experimental groups include altered group sizes,
increased intervention time, and/or a systematic phonics component to
be added to the existing lesson format.Reading Recovery Modifications
that May Enhance Intervention Effectiveness and Reach More Students

MODIFIED READING RECOVERY

Introduction
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
showed that among U.S. fourth graders, 66% of students scored
below proficient on the National Assessment of Education Progresss
reading assessment (NCES 2013). This suggests that by fourth grade,
well over half of U.S. students are not reading at grade level. For
students from a low-income background, statistics are even grimmer.
According to NCES, 80% of students in poverty scored below grade
level (NCES 2013). These statistics should concern us as a nation.
Literacy statistics show that 2 out of 3 students who cannot read
proficiently at the end of grade 4 go on to interface with the criminal
justice system or end up on welfare (Literacy Statistics).
To address this issue early on, some schools have chosen to
implement Reading Recovery. Since its inception over 30 years ago,
the Reading Recovery intervention program for struggling readers has
aimed to dramatically reduce the number of first-grade students who
have extreme difficulty learning to read and write and to reduce the
cost of these learners to educational systems (Basic Facts). But the
reviews are mixed in regards to this programs effectiveness, and
research is readily available to support both the pros and cons of
Reading Recovery. For example, Reading Recoverys International Data
Evaluation Center reports that in the 2013-2014 school year, 72% of
students who received a complete intervention reached average levels

MODIFIED READING RECOVERY

of reading and writing (of their peers in the classroom). The remainders
were referred for further assessment and support at a more intensive
instructional tier (DAgostino, Harmey 2015). However, an older study
conducted in the late 1990s suggests something different. Joseph
Haenn, in his article titled Reading Recovery: Success for How Many?
states that in one district, almost 2 out of every 5 Reading Recovery
students (179, or 60.4 percent) did not successfully complete the
program and were returned to the classroom with insufficient reading
skills. Therefore, it appears that, at least in this district, the Reading
Recovery program is successful for only 3 out of every 5 students who
receive this intensive 20-week program to develop reading skills
(Haen 2000). This discrepancy is worth considering, especially when
we consider what is at stake: money, time, and most importantly a
students academic and social success or failure.
With such mixed reviews, educators and district policy makers
are left wondering whether Reading Recovery is worth the investment
on all levels. In the United States, Reading Recovery and Descubriendo
la Lectura (the Spanish version of the Reading Recovery program)
educators have taught over 1.9 million students to date (DAgostino,
Harmey 2015). In the 2013-2014 school year alone, Reading Recovery
served over 47,000 students (DAgostino, Harmey 2015). If
intervention results in the drastic gains some research supports,

MODIFIED READING RECOVERY

superintendents and principals will make no hesitations to support


implementation initiatives and train more teachers immediately.
The more effective teachers are at accelerating readers, the
more effective the program is as at serving a higher number of
students. In Acceleration: The Key to Reading Recovery Benefits, Noel
Jones tells readers, Accelerated learning underlies the difference
between Reading Recovery and remedial programs, and it is an
important part of the explanation for both short-term and long-term
performance of children served by Reading Recovery (Jones 2002).
With this in mind, if teachers are not able to accelerate students, or
academic gains are not being made and sustained, educational leaders
are likely to pull back their support and seek alternative intervention
models.
In this review, I plan to: (a) discuss the components of a typical
Reading Recovery lesson, (b) provide readers with an outline of
researched findings on immediate and long term effects for Reading
Recovery students, (c) summarize some of the most common criticisms
of the program, and (d) define the rationale and procedures required to
perform a study to examine effects of three new modified Reading
Recovery lessons that will serve a higher number of students and/or
incorporate a word study/phonics program into the typical lesson
sequence. By reading this review of literature, I hope to initiate a more
critical and research-founded dialogue centered on the topic of both

MODIFIED READING RECOVERY

Reading Recovery as an effective intervention, and how we can most


efficiently meet the needs of the struggling readers within a school.

Components of a Typical Reading Recovery Lesson


A typical Reading Recovery lesson spans 30 minutes and is
administered one time per day every day of the week for 12-20 weeks,
depending on a students rate of acceleration (Pinnell 1989). Full time
Reading Recovery teachers work with 4 students at a time, but can
work with as many as 12 students in a year if these students respond
quickly to intervention. During the time in which a teacher is not
delivering Reading Recovery, he/she can teach a classroom, provide
small group instruction or additional guided reading, co-teach, or coach
other teachers in a building.
The typical Reading Recovery lesson sequence is composed of
three 10-minute sections:
1. Familiar reading and running record
2. Word work (breaking/making words), writing, and the cutup story
3. New book introduction and student reading
In the first section of the lesson, the Reading Recovery teacher
provides the student with a number of book choices from texts that
have been read in previous lessons. Deemed familiar reads, He/she
reads these books rapidly as a way to practice fluency, phrasing,
expression, and cement new sight words into his/her repertoire of

MODIFIED READING RECOVERY

known words. Students typically work through 3 familiar reads


independently without interruption from the teacher. After completing
a book, the teacher provides one praise point and one teaching point
based a strength from the students reading as well as an area of
weakness (respectively).
Following the familiar reading, a student reads the new book
from yesterdays lesson. During this reading, the teacher completes a
running record for the text being read aloud, and she is restricted from
intervening at any point while the student reads. Again, once the
reading is complete, the teacher provides one praise and one teaching
point.
Based on a skill the student struggled with in the readings prior,
the teacher chooses a word or skill to practice at the whiteboard using
magnetic letters. This begins the second section of the lesson. During
word work, the teacher can focus a students attention on a single
letter and the sound relationship correlated with that letter. Teachers
may also choose one word to focus on: breaking the word into its
individual letters or sounds, and allowing students to copy this action.
This section of the lesson should only take 2-4 minutes, and is always
brought back to the portion of text the reader was struggling with. For
example, if the student mixed love/like in his/her reading, the teacher
may build this word on the board with magnetic letters, break it at
onset/rime (l/ike) and have students do the same. Once complete, the

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teacher would ask the student to re-read the sentence containing the
word like to contextualize the learning.
After word work, the teacher and students begin a natural
conversation. This conversation should lead to a student-constructed
sentence directly from the students oral language. The student and
teacher work together to write this sentence in a blank writing
notebook to develop skills such as spacing, directionality, return
sweep, punctuation, sound-spelling correspondences and sight words.
Reading Recovery teachers selectively choose one or two words to
take to fluency (practice writing repeatedly), and phonetic words to
practice using Elkonin boxes.
Elkonin boxes are sound or letterboxes drawn by the teacher,
that help students discriminate individual sounds or letters. If a student
is working on hearing sounds in the word like, the teacher would
draw a long rectangle with 3 boxes inside and ask the student to name
the sounds that go in each box. Because the word contains a silent-e,
the teacher provides this tricky letter and allows the student to rewrite
the whole word in his/her story. If the student has mastered hearing
sounds in order, teachers will choose to use letterboxes, rather than
sound boxes. In letterboxes, rather than including the number of boxes
for each sound in a word, teachers compose boxes that match the
number of letters in a word (4 boxes for the word like though there
are only 3 sounds).

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After completing the writing, the teacher quickly scribes the


students story onto a sentence strip, cuts the strip into individual
words and asks the student to reconstruct the story physically exactly
as he/she spoke and wrote it. This portion of the lesson supports a
students learning of speech-print matching, spacing, 1:1
correspondence, return sweep, phrasing and expression.
The final portion of the typical Reading Recovery lesson
sequence consists of the new book introduction and student reading.
This new book has been strategically selected to match the students
current strengths and greatest needs based on yesterdays previous
readings. Clay purports that a good introduction to a new book makes
the new text more accessible to the reader (Clay 1991). She says, It
is a process of drawing the children into the activity before passing
control to the children and pushing them gently towards problemsolving the whole first reading of the story for themselves (Clay
1991).
First, the teacher is responsible for telling students the title of the
book. Then, she prepares to scaffold the students learning by
unlocking a few of the most difficult aspects of the text. Some call this
taking the bugs out of the text. After disclosing the title, teachers
summarize the story complete with main problem. Secondly, teachers
draw attention to one or two syntactically new or difficult phrases.
Finally, two new sight words or vocabulary word are selected and

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students practice reading these carefully. All of this happens during a


picture walk, where the student controls the book and the teacher
provides these clues with the least intrusive prompts possible. After the
book introduction is complete, the student reads the text
independently with little or no assistance from the teacher. Finally,
after the reading, the teacher once again provides a praise point and a
teaching point from the students first reading.

Effectiveness of Reading Recovery


A great deal of discussion has been had in regards to Reading
Recoverys data collection methods. It is worth mentioning here that
Reading Recovery hosts its own data collection warehouse called the
International Data Evaluation Center (IDEC). This data center, based
out of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio gathers data from
each Reading Recovery site across the nation through an online
collection program, and then assembles this data into an annual
technical report. For the purpose of this review, I feel it is necessary to
describe (a) assessments and results from Reading Recoverys own
assessment the Observation Survey (b) what third party U.S.
organizations and researchers, not associated with Reading Recovery
say about the effectiveness of the program (c) results from nonReading Recovery associated assessment measures given to students
who were involved in the program, and (d) critiques from third-party

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organizations and researchers about the flaws associated with the


Reading Recovery program.

Reading Recovery Effectiveness According to Observation


Survey Results
Because Reading Recovery uses its own set of assessments
developed specifically for the program by the programs own creator
Marie Clay, it is important to describe each assessment and what it
measures. At the onset of any individual students Reading Recovery
program, he/she is given the Observation Survey (OS) of Early Literacy
Achievement. All tasks of the assessment were developed in research
studies to assess emergent literacy in young children (Observation
Survey). The assessment is a norm-referenced assessment
administered by trained Reading Recovery teachers and it consists of a
variety of real-world reading tasks including:
1. Running record on text reading: Determines appropriate level of
text difficulty and records what the child does when reading
continuous text
2. Letter identification: Assesses known letters and preferred mode
of identification (sound or name)
3. Ohio Word Test (sight word reading): Given to determine whether
the child is building reading vocabulary
4. Concepts About Print: Assesses what the child has learned about
the way spoken language is put into print, as well as knowledge
about directionality and book handling

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5. Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words (Dictation): Assesses


phonemic awareness by students responses to sound-letter
associations
6. Writing Vocabulary: Assesses whether or not the child is building
a vocabulary of known written words
(Reynolds and Wheldall)
(Reading Recovery Council of North America)
Data collected from the technical report issued by Reading
Recoverys IDEC includes information from Reading Recovery and
Descubriendo la Lectura students in the U.S. in 2013-2014. This report
shows effects of Reading Recovery on a students literacy levels, and
how these students compare to their classmates. Results from this
report show that out of all students who received Reading Recovery,
55% discontinued their program because they reached average levels
of reading and writing of their peers, and teachers predicted the
success they had made would allow them to continue progressing postintervention (Reading Recovery Council of North America). 22% of
students who received Reading Recovery responded to intervention,
but did not respond at high enough rates to meet the average level of
reading and writing of their peers (Reading Recovery Council of North
America). Students who did not reach this goal were recommended for
more thorough testing and more intensive intervention. The school
year ended before 17% of students receiving Reading Recovery had
completed their program, and another 4% of students moved to a

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different school during intervention (Reading Recovery Council of North


America). The last 2% of Reading Recovery students did not fall into
any of the previous categories (Reading Recovery Council of North
America). It may be important to note that, of the children who
received a complete series of Reading Recovery lessons, 72%
successfully discontinued their series of lessons and reached the
average literacy level of their peers (Reading Recovery Council of
North America).

Reading Recovery Effectiveness According to Third Party


Organizations
With any program, curriculum, issue or idea in education, it is
easy to find individuals and organizations that take either a positive or
a negative view. Reading Recovery is no different. One critique of the
program involves the fact that Reading Recovery itself aggregates data
collected and reported by the International Data Evaluation Center.
This, to some, signals a conflict of interest in data collection and
reporting. For this reason, it is important to consider both what
opinions third-party organizations and researchers have about the
program, and what alternative assessments show about the progress
of these students on such measures.
The U.S.s Department of Educations What Works Clearinghouse
(WWC) identifies studies that provide credible and reliable evidence

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of the effectiveness of a given practice, program, or policy (referred to


as interventions), and disseminates summary information and free
reports on the WWC website (About the WWC). In their most recent
(July 2013) evaluation of Reading Recoverys effectiveness, WWC
reports Reading Recovery was found to have positive effects on
general reading achievement and potentially positive effects on
alphabetics, reading fluency, and comprehension for beginning
readers (Reading Recovery WWC). In reading achievement, Reading
Recovery received the highest effectives rating (++), which resulted in
a +27 percentile gain for average students) (Reading Recovery WWC).
The second highest effectiveness rating was given in regard to reading
fluency (a +46 percentile gain for average students) (Reading
Recovery WWC). In alphabetics, a +21 percentile gain and in reading
comprehension a +14 percentile gain was seen (both the second
highest effectiveness rating) (Reading Recovery WWC).
As a comparison, the Wilson Reading System another highly
popular small group reading intervention program received a +13
percentile gain in alphabetics (compared to Reading Recoverys +21),
a +7 percentile gain in reading comprehension (Reading Recovery was
+21) and a +6 percentile gain in reading fluency (Reading Recovery
scored a +46). Corrective Reading, yet another well-known small
group reading intervention focused on phonics, received a +11, +9,
and +7 improvement index in percentile gains for average students in

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reading fluency, alphabetics and reading comprehension respectively.


Overall, it is clear that the U.S. Department of Education has deemed
Reading Recovery an effective intervention for low performing young
readers, especially when compared to alternative intervention
methods.
Another interesting set of findings comes out of a different
branch of the U.S. Department of Education: the i3 or Investing in
Innovation Fund. This departmental programs purpose is to offer
competitive grants to local educational agencies (LEAs), or
organizations in partnerships with these LEAs, that have shown a
strong history of improving student achievement (Investing in
Innovation Fund). Recently, the department offered a $45.6 million
grant to The Ohio state University, plus a private match of $10.1
million, to be allocated towards support of Reading Recovery teacher
training programs and implementation of the intervention across low
income, low performing school systems (Reading Recovery: Scaling Up
What Works). In a recent i3 study evaluating the effects of the scale-up
initiative, independent evaluators of the program working for the
Consortium for Policy Research in Education reported significant
findings. In just one school year, researchers found that students
participating in Reading Recovery progressed almost two months
quicker than their peers who were not engaged in the intervention
(Sparks 2013) (Mayetal.,2013). These participating students also

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increased their learning by nearly 30 percent more than average firstgraders in the U.S. (Sparks 2013) (Mayetal.,2013).

Reading Recovery Effectiveness According to Non-Reading


Recovery Associated Assessment Measures
Another conflict of interest that may exist in Reading Recoverys
data collection and reporting methods involves the use of its own
assessments to judge a students progress. Though in May of 2012, the
National Center for Response to Intervention awarded the Observation
Survey the highest possible ratings on all five of the NCRTIs
technical standards: classification accuracy; generalizability; reliability;
validity; and disaggregated reliability, validity and accuracy for
subgroups, this Reading Recovery assessment is generally only used
for assessment of Reading Recovery students (DAgostino 2012).
Therefore, it may be important to include assessment data using nonReading Recovery associated assessment measures for students who
have progressed through Reading Recovery. Because Marie Clay
invented both the Observation Survey (OS) and Reading Recovery,
some may believe that lessons in Reading Recovery allow students to
succeed only on the OS, but their achievement may not generalize to
other reading tasks and assessments.
One group of researchers administered a variety of tests to
assess the effectiveness of Reading Recovery compared to three other

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instructional models. The design of their experiment required the


lowest 10 percent of first-grade readers from across 10 school districts
to be randomly assigned to either an intervention group (Reading
Recovery or another individual or small group intervention) or the
control comparison group. Researchers administered a variety of
alternative non-Reading Recovery associated assessments, one of
which was the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test Revised. This test is
individually administered, and consists of a number of different
assessment tasks including assessments on: visual/auditory learning,
letter identification, word attack, word identification, word
comprehension, and passage comprehension (Pinnell et. all 1994).
According to researchers, results on post-assessments at the end of
the first session of Reading Recovery (February) indicated
statistically significant estimates for the mean effect of Reading
Recvoery (+.32 points) (Pinnell et. all 1994). Specifically, Reading
Recovery students average Woodcock-R assessment scores were
highest of all groups, at 39.81 (SD 21.35). Comparison intervention and
control groups were scoring 29.49 (SD 23.21), 34.16 (SD 25.60), 38.13
(SD 23.62), and 30.64 (SD 21.56) (Pinnell et. all 2003).
Another group of researchers out of Texas studied the effect of
Reading Recovery compared to classroom peers both in the short and
long-term (end of 1st grade and end of 4th grade) using the GatesMacGinitie Reading Test and the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills

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respectively. The Gates-MacGinitie is a standardized reading measure


that is normed against national standards, used in a wide number of
schools across all grades, and includes a comprehension measure
(Lee). The Texas Assessment of Academic Skills was Texas state
standardized reading assessment given to all students grades 3-11.
According to the Texas Education Agency, The TAKS assessments are
designed to measure the extent to which a student has learned and is
able to apply the defined knowledge and skills at each tested grade
level (TAKS Resources).
Results in the Askew et. all study showed that Reading Recovery
had both short and long term benefits for students, even when
compared to a random sample of students not showing need of
intensive intervention. At the beginning of first-grade, the average
Gates-Macginitie stanine score for the discontinued Reading Recovery
group (prior to Reading Recovery intervention) was 2, while the
random sample group was in the 4th stanine. These differences in
stanine scores show group differences between the random sample
group and the Reading Recovery students.
Gates-Macginitie Extended Scale Scores (ESS), which are able to
measure gains across years of testing, were compared between
students who completed the Reading Recovery program and students
in the random sample. Extended Scale Scores can be compared across
grades, because differences in scores are constant along all grades on

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the scale (a difference of 50 units represents the same difference along


the scale at all levels) (Askew et. all 2003). According to this study,
gains first-graders made in total measures for Reading Recovery
surpassed those of their classroom peers between Grades 2 and 3 and
closely matched gains between Grades 3 and 4 (Askew et. all 2003).
This same study also reported evidence of continued success for
Reading Recovery students on standardized assessment measures. By
the end of fourth grade, the mean reading subtest score on the Texas
Assessment for Knowledge and Skills for the random sample group was
86, while the Reading Recovery students scored 80 (Askew et. all
2003). Keep in mind the random sample includes children never
referred for intensive intervention. In the writing subtest, 97 percent of
random samplers passed, whereas 90% of Reading Recovery students
passed (Askew et. all 2003). Where a 70 percent score or above overall
is passing, 90 percent of the random sample group passed and 85
percent of Reading Recovery students passed the reading test (Askew
et. all 2003). These findings indicate that Reading Recovery can
generalize into regular education settings, and has lasting effects.

Critiques From Third-Party Organizations and Researchers


Even despite all of the evidence collected across 30+ years since
Reading Recoverys inception in the U.S., there are a number of
critiques of the program. One of the most prominent critiques of the

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program came out in 1994, and was written by Dr. Elfrieda H. Hiebert
out of the University of Michigan. In an article published in Educational
Researcher, Hiebert examined available data from 3 Reading Recovery
training sites in an effort to evaluate the effectiveness of the program,
specifically in regards to feasibility of implementation and influence on
age groups within an elementary school. One problem she points out is
the fact that Reading Recovery sites often only report means for
only those children who successfully completed the program prior to
April (considered to be those with the most robust performance) and to
exclude data on the remainder of the sample who either completed the
program after April or were not discontinued (Hiebert 1994). She also
points out that typically, the reporting system segregates data for
discontinued students (students who received the full 60 or more
Reading Recovery lessons and reached the average reading level of
their classes) and not discontinued students (students who did not
receive the full 60+ interventions or did not reach average levels of
their peers) (Hiebert 1994). Additionally, she raises several other
concerns about Reading Recovery including: overemphasis on accurate
reading and writing, exclusion of extensive comprehension and
composition, the fact that students may be dismissed by teachers from
the program mid-year due to unresponsiveness, there may be a lack of
maintenance through fourth grade, and lack of teacher retention
(Hiebert 1994). Though this study was conducted many years ago,

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because Reading Recovery has been consistently implemented across


years with no major changes, the concerns are still valid. One final and
widespread critique of the intervention is that the costs per student are
too high to prove sustainable. Though calculations vary, costs have
been estimated to be up to $6,530.00, or as low as $1,708.00 per
student (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2003) (Lyons &
Beaver, 1995).
Over 30 international reading researchers composed another
critique. This letter was written to urge policy makers, parents,
educational leaders, researchers, and federal education organizations
to recognize flaws in Reading Recovery. This attack on Reading
Recovery has been countered in multiple published journals since, but
it is worth mentioning here. The goal of this letter was to disallow the
U.S. government to fund Reading Recovery as a Reading First initiative,
based on their idea that this intervention does not include scientifically
based classroom reading instruction. Authors of this letter brought up 4
points, which included: (1) Reading Recovery is not successful with its
targeted student population, the lowest performing students, (2)
Reading Recovery is not a cost effective solution, (3) Reading Recovery
efficacy studies do not use standard assessment measures, and (4)
Reading Recovery does not change by capitalizing on research (Baker
et. all 2012). Writers go on to say, Reading Recovery is not a

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productive investment of taxpayers money or students time and is a


classic example of a one size fits all method. (Baker et. all 2012).

Modified Reading Recovery Proposal


Rationale
In light of both positive and more critical reviews of Reading
Recovery, I believe it is appropriate to draw the conclusion that this
intervention has both beneficial and less beneficial effects. The current
reality is that among U.S. fourth graders, 66% of students scored
"below proficient" on the 2013 National Assessment of Education
Progress (NAEP) reading assessment, showing they are not reading at
grade level. (NCES 2013). Among these, 80 percent of students from
low-income backgrounds score below grade level in reading. (NCES
2013). Therefore, we must have an effective way to reach our lowest
performing students that is both cost efficient and sustainable. I
believe that Reading Recovery is drawn from a strong theoretical and
evidential knowledge base. Based on trusted third party reviewers such
as the U.S. Department of Educations What Works Clearinghouse and
the i3 review board, I also believe that Reading Recovery is one
effective intervention for young students who are experiencing early
reading failure. However, in light of a number of critiques to the
intervention program, I believe there are several ways to modify
current Reading Recovery procedures that would silence critics, and

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make the intervention more affordable, sustainable, and even


successful. Specifically, I believe a larger group size, extended time,
and phonics component can increase the effectiveness and efficiency
of Reading Recovery as an intervention. In order to prove these ideas
effective, I propose a study of modified Reading Recovery with an
increased group ratio, extended time, and/or added phonics
component.

Research Question
My research will focus on the following questions:
1. Can current Reading Recovery procedures be modified to include
a larger group size (1:3 teacher to student ratio) plus
extended time, and still be effective at increasing reading
levels for our lowest performing readers compared to standard
Reading Recovery implementation?
2. Can current Reading Recovery procedures be modified to include
a systematic phonics component plus extended time, and
be more effective at increasing reading levels for our lowest
performing readers than standard Reading Recovery
implementation?
3. Can current Reading Recovery procedures be modified to include
a larger group size (1:3 teacher to student ratio),
systematic phonics component plus extended time, and be
more effective at increasing reading levels for our lowest

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performing readers than standard Reading Recovery


implementation?

Method
In order for this study to be carried out with external and internal
validity, I propose a randomized controlled trials group study.
Participants will be the lowest performing 10% of 1st grade students
across 3 elementary schools that currently implement Reading
Recovery, and therefore already employ highly trained Reading
Recovery teachers. Intervention will last for 12-20 weeks contingent on
student progress. Once a student has reached the average of the class,
he/she will be exited from the program.
Students who qualify for Reading Recovery across these elementary
schools will be randomly assigned to either a control group receiving
regular 1:1 30 minute Reading Recovery lessons every day for 12-20
weeks, or one of the following 3 experimental groups:
1. Modified Reading Recovery Group Size + 10 minutes: In this
group, one certified Reading Recovery teacher will work with 3
students who qualified for intervention. This group will function
more like a guided reading group, but will employ Reading
Recoverys research based philosophies and typical lesson
components. One difference will be that only one running record
will be conducted per lesson (teacher rotates the student who

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receives the running record daily). Another differences is that


word work will be chosen strategically by the teacher after
listening to all students read. This word work should address an
overarching need for the group. The sentence to write will come
from the student who received the running record, and the
teacher will provide assistance across all students as needed.
Finally, the new book will be the same for all students, and will
be based again on the greatest needs of the students in the
group.
2. Modified Reading Recovery with Phonics + 10 minutes: In this
group, one certified Reading Recovery teacher will work with one
student for 40 minutes. All lesson components of typical Reading
Recovery will be held constant, except one 10 minute block of
phonics and word study will be added after the breaking and
making words section of the lesson. This will consist of teaching
a phonics pattern and completion of one word sort that relates to
the pattern. Phonics materials and lessons will be pulled from
Pearsons Words Their Way word study curriculum.
3. Modified Reading Recovery Group Size + Phonics + 15 minutes:
In this group, one certified Reading Recovery teacher will work
with 3 students who qualified for intervention. This group will
function more like a guided reading group, but will employ
Reading Recoverys research based philosophies and typical
lesson components. One difference will be that only one running

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28

record will be conducted per lesson (teacher rotates the student


who receives the running record daily). Another differences is
that word work will be chosen strategically by the teacher after
listening to all students read. This word work should address an
overarching need for the group. Also, a 10-minute block of
phonics and word study will be added after the breaking and
making words section of the lesson. This will consist of teaching
of a phonics pattern and completion of one word sort that relates
to the pattern. Phonics materials and lessons will be pulled from
Pearsons Words Their Way word study curriculum. The sentence
to write will come from the student who received the running
record, and the teacher will provide assistance across all
students as needed. Finally, the new book will be the same for all
students, and will be based again on the greatest needs of the
students in the group.

Measures
For this study, a pre and posttest assessment will be given to
each student. These assessments will be comprised of two parts: (1) a
Reading Recovery battery of assessments and (2) a non-Reading
Recovery associated battery of assessments. The Reading Recovery
battery will consist of all parts of the Observation Survey of Early
Literacy Achievement: Word Test, Concepts About Print, Writing

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29

Vocabulary, Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words, Text Reading, and


the Slosson Oral Reading Test. The non-Reading Recovery associated
battery of assessments will consist of: 1st grade AIMSweb assessments
(Letter Naming, Letter Sounds, Phoneme Segmentation, Nonsense
Words, R-CBM Fluency Assessment), as well as the Fountas and Pinnell
Text Reading Assessment complete with comprehension questions.
Administration of two types of assessments (Reading Recovery
and non-Reading Recovery associated assessments) will preserve
internal and external validity, and allow us to compare our Reading
Recovery (and modified Reading Recovery students) with peers in their
own schools as well as students across district and state lines. It will
also allow for us to answer criticisms that nonstandard measurement
units are used in Reading Recovery.
These modifications should address some of the criticisms of
Reading Recovery. First, teachers will be working with a group 3 times
as large as typical reading recovery, which will increase the number of
students who can qualify for intervention. Second, students will be
increasing their knowledge of word patterns and sound-spelling
correspondence through a word study/word sort program. All of these
modifications will take place in the context of a slightly longer
intervention. Modifications to Reading Recovery will increase the
strength and impact of intervention, as well as expand the number of
students who are able to receive this effective intervention.

MODIFIED READING RECOVERY

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