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?
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.