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Reading Recovery tutors look to future

23 May 2005

Reading Recovery tutors look to future in annual workshop

Helping the children in Reading Recovery who need longer-term literacy support is a topic under discussion this week at a gathering of the country’s Reading Recovery tutors – those who teach teachers in schools to work with individual children. Reading Recovery is an intensive reading and writing programme for six year-olds and typically involves 20 weeks of work with an individual child.

The annual Reading Recovery Tutor Development Week is taking place at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, hosted by the National Reading Recovery Centre. Twenty-nine tutors are meeting on the Epsom campus for four days of intensive professional development in workshops and presentations.

Dame Marie Clay, the founder of Reading Recovery, will lead a discussion on an article “The two positive outcomes of reading recovery”, about to be published in the Journal of Reading Recovery in the United States.

“In Reading Recovery, the first positive outcome is to prepare a very high proportion of children to work effectively back in their classroom programmes. But not every child can achieve this in a limited number of lessons – a small number need ongoing individual lessons.

“Therefore, the second positive outcome is that we are able to identify clearly for schools within the 20 weeks of intensive tuition, the children who will need continuing help,” she says.

Two years ago Dame Marie instigated a panel in Washington DC of international Reading Recovery trainers, to discuss ways of successfully bridging children from early intervention to further assistance.

“We are going to study what the Americans are doing, not with the intention of copying them but to make us think hard about how we deal with the issue here. The solutions will not be the same.”

In New Zealand, it is most common for children to be referred to Resource Teachers of Literacy, specialised teachers working with older children. There are questions about whether the continuing provision is sufficient yet, says Dame Marie, and there is a particular challenge to help rural schools.

“There needs to be several different kinds of continuing provision, and schools must become good at working out what will be needed for their pupils. What must be stressed is the importance of transferring quickly to another source of help so that what the children have already learned in Reading Recovery is not lost during weeks or months of waiting.”

At the conference participants will also hear about the Government’s literacy strategy priorities in 2005, and highlights of a major research project on the effectiveness of Reading Recovery for Maori and Pasifika children presented by NZCER researchers.

A feature of the week, says Chris Boocock, Acting Head of the National Reading Recovery Centre, is for participants to observe and discuss live Reading Recovery lessons. Observation of lessons behind a one-way screen is a core component of Reading Recovery training at all levels.

“The week is highly valued by the tutors as their chance once a year to closely scrutinise theory, practice and the latest research as it impacts on children’s progress in learning to read and write.”


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