We are currently trialling setting a goal for each Reading Recovery student based upon his / her current needs. This goal is written on a slip of paper with an accompanying picture.
The goal is placed on the outside of the personal reading box on the student’s classroom table. It is to be used as a reminder every time the student reads. At the beginning and end of each Reading Recovery lesson, he / she revisits the goal and evaluates the progress, and success, of achieving the goal.
We are aiming for a new goal each week. Past goals will sometimes need to be revisited. When a new goal is given, the past goal will be placed at the back of the Homework Pasting Book. You could become familiar with the goals and help your child by asking how he / she is progressing toward achieving the goal.
The students make a judgement on how they are going by giving a thumbs up (for success), a thumbs down (for needing a lot of extra attention) or a thumb pointing 1/2 way (part way there, needs more attention).
Each day the Reading Recovery student composes and writes at least one sentence. Early in the series of lessons it might be about one of the familiar books, e.g. Kitty Cat ran up the tree. Or it might be about a recent experience, e.g. We went fishing and my dad got a big fish. After the sentence is written in the writing book, the teacher quickly copies it onto a strip of card. She cuts it, usually into individual words, as the student reads it. The student is then asked to remake the sentence. Even the student who has a lot of difficulty reading the easiest books, is often able to read back the sentence because he /she wrote it and understands it. Usually there is only a little prompting required to remember how the sentence began, or to recall a particular word, or to remember the exact structure, e.g. the student may orally change some words around.
As they perform this task the students are learning many things, including:
- I can read. (Previous attempts to read published books may not have been positive.)
- Sentences are made up of individual words that can be spoken and can be written down.
- Word order is important to make sense.
- Words look different from each other.
- I can search for a word, e.g. I can say the word- went– and look for a word that starts with w.
- I can check my reading by rereading. Does it make sense? Does it look right? Are there any words left over? Do l have enough words?
All of these skills are important for reading.
Click on the photo to view an example of the Cut Up Sentence Component of Reading Recovery. The student in this demonstration has been doing Reading Recovery for some time. The teacher cuts some of his words into parts because he is learning how to ‘take words apart’ and ‘put words together’, like we do as we are reading and writing.
If you have read a previous post relating to Familiar Reading you will know that students have their own boxes of books for Reading Recovery.
These books are read often and become familiar. Every day 2 or 3 familiar books are read to give the student the chance to be phrased and fluent (sound like a good reader).
When books are reread the meaning is already known and more effort can go into looking at the print. Each time the student rereads a book there is an opportunity to notice something that has never been noticed before, e.g. at and cat look similar.
The student chooses a homework book from the familiar books that were read that day. It should sound quite easy, but it may still have some opportunities for the child to notice any errors that have been made, and use known ways of rereading and fixing the errors.
The purpose of the book coming home is an opportunity for the child to read to family members and to practise and ‘show off’ the new skills. As it is a familiar book, it should give the student confidence to read to others. The child should be praised for sounding better than before, fixing errors, and trying more than one way of solving words.
The student has a new book at school every day. It is chosen because it has just a few new opportunities for learning. If a book was chosen that was too hard, it would not encourage a desire to keep trying, and coming to Reading Recovery.
If a book was sent home that was too hard it would not encourage a desire to read. We do not want reading at home, or at school, to be an unpleasant experience. We all learn more when we feel positive about the experience.
As we are reading, we always need to be checking that what we read makes sense. If it does not sound right, we usually go back and look at the words again to try to fix the problem. For this second reading we will probably look more carefully at the letters within the words, and change the words for ones that would look right AND make sense.
From the beginning of Reading Recovery, we want the students to cross check what they are reading which requires them to constantly think and check.
Do the words look right?
E.g. If l read the word cat but the word is dog then the word will not LOOK right.
Does it sound right?
E.g. If l read Have is a dog instead of Here is a dog then it will not SOUND right because that is not the way we would say it.
Does it make sense?
E.g. If l read The duck is eating a bone instead of The dog is eating a bone then it will not MAKE SENSE, especially if the picture has a dog and no duck.
Students need to be able to ask themselves if their reading looks right, sounds right and makes sense in order for them to know when it is necessary to pause and fix up the errors, instead of just continuing to read. It is also a way of working out a tricky word, e.g. What could look like that word, sound right and make sense in that sentence? The ____ is eating a bone?
You can help your child at home by prompting him / her to check if the reading makes sense, sounds right and looks right, and then ask ‘What else could it be?’.