First graduate

It was very pleasing to return after the holidays and to observe that each student had maintained their new skills. Some students were reading a little slower but they quickly picked up the pace again. Remember that reading should sound like talking.

One of my students has just finished Reading Recovery. She is so proud of herself. Her classroom teacher has commented on her overall increased confidence in the classroom. However her learning hasn’t finished. We all learn new things every day.

What we don’t use can be easily forgotten. Reading Recovery graduates should continue to read at home every day. Teachers will monitor their progress and continue to give some extra support when required.

‘Miss Graduate’ wrote a message about her experience with Reading Recovery.




She is proudly showing a book that she read when she first began  Reading Recovery, and a book that she can read now.







Her favourite story to read is Goldilocks And The 3 Bears.


As one student graduates, another one begins Reading Recovery. I have a new student who has already begun Roaming The Known.  (Roaming 2, First 2 Weeks)  


A Tale Of 2 Students

2 students (from an unnamed school) began Reading Recovery a day apart. Student A was reading Level 3, and Student B was reading Level 4. Their Observation Survey scores were almost identical.

For the 1st 4 weeks of their series of lessons the students kept pace with each other. But after Week 4 Student B stalled on Levels 5 and 6 but Student A continued to progress a reading level each week.

What changed?     Attendance.

 Student A

 Student B

Student A was away for a total of 6 days so he missed 6 lessons. Student B was absent for 18 days so she has missed 18 lessons. There was only 1 week that she was at school every day.

(FYI- the week 24/03/17 is missing from Student B as she did not attend school at all that week.)

9 weeks from the beginning of Reading Recovery, Student A is reading Level 10 and Student B is reading Level 7, (despite the latter beginning 1 level ahead). Ironically Student A would have been reading Level 11 (4 levels above Student B) but he was away on the last day of this sampling!

There are many reasons why one student may progress at a different rate to a peer, but the teacher of these 2 students considers that the difference between them is the number of lessons that have been missed. As I have stated before, every lesson builds upon what happened the day before. The bigger the gap between this new learning and the next lesson, the more opportunity there is to forget.

It is sensible to keep a child at home if he / she is unwell. It is not sensible to keep a child at home because it is raining, to get a haircut, to buy new shoes, to go visiting etc. etc. Missing lessons will alter the progress of your child.

Growth with Reading Recovery

Enjoy the next 2 weeks of holidays! Don’t forget to have your child do lots of reading, and some writing too.

If you read the last post and followed the links you may have noticed the video Growth With Reading Recovery (Reading Recovery Council of North America, 2012)
If you did not see the video, I have linked it to this post.

The video is celebrating Chase’s journey from being a student who was reading below the other students in his class, to being a confident student who was reading above the level of the average students in his class.

After 5 weeks of Reading Recovery, Chase’s RR teacher tells us that he was using strategies such as slowly saying a word (moth) in order to hear what he would expect to see at the beginning of the word (m). He was then asked to check if the word did begin with m, and it did.

Chase was able to hear many dominant consonants. Consonants are letters that are not vowels (aeiou). Dominant consonants are the ones that are easiest to hear within a word, e.g. Chase would probably hear c-s-n (or k-z-n) in cousin. He is not likely to think the word cake would be cousin if he is using what he knows about matching sounds with probable letters,

Chase was also learning that there was a connection between reading and writing. When we are reading we go from letters to sounds. When we are writing we go from sounds to letters. We can hear individual sounds and parts of words, we can write down letters to represent the sounds and parts of words, and we can look at the letters and parts of words and think of sounds that could match those letters.

Even after 5 weeks, Chase’s classroom teacher had noticed that he was taking risks with his writing, i.e. he had the confidence to try writing words that he did not know.

Chase had 15 weeks of Reading Recovery. By then he had caught up to the average students in his class and he sounded like a good reader. Chase was using word parts (e.g. st-art-ed) and word patterns (day, away) to solve words.

At the beginning of Reading Recovery Chase could only write 5 words. After 15 weeks he could write 42 words.

Chase continued to progress without the extra support that he had previously needed. Chase was reading above the level of the average students in his class by the end of the school year, and his classroom teacher was very pleased with what he could do, including solving words on the run. That means he could work out many unknown words as he was reading, without having to stop, reread and think about ways of taking a word apart.

Chase understood what he was reading as he could answer questions about his book and write about it. Chase was now confident to try new challenges and he enjoyed reading and writing. He had learnt many things about reading and writing (giving him background knowledge) that he can now use in the future. The teachers were proud of him and no doubt so were his parents. Most importantly, Chase would be very pleased with himself.

This is the kind of journey we want for all of our students!