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International recognition for Reading Recovery

8 December 2005

New Zealand evaluation report reinforces international recognition for Reading Recovery

An extensive evaluation report released today by the Ministry of Education has reinforced the international recognition New Zealand’s Reading Recovery programme has previously received.

The Secretary for Education, Howard Fancy, said that while in the past there has been international praise for the New Zealand approach to Reading Recovery, there has not previously been such a highly detailed and comprehensive evaluation. The evaluation was carried out by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER).

The analysis of Reading Recovery has found the programme can work well for all the schools that elect to offer it and for students of all backgrounds.

“The results are that reading, writing and oral language of the majority of the lowest performing students improve to the extent that students eventually no longer need to be on the programme,” Mr Fancy said.

“Our education system produces world class results for the vast majority of students,” Mr Fancy said. “However, we are concerned about the group of students who under achieve. Reading Recovery is one of the programmes we have in place to help our most at need students.

“While, of course, no one programme can provide all the answers for every student, Reading Recovery is proving itself to be a very useful part of our solution for at risk students.”

The NZCER evaluation lists what it has found as a wide-range of strengths of Reading Recovery.

Reading Recovery is delivered by teachers with specialist training, who receive ongoing professional development to keep them up to date with new ideas, new research and new ways of doing things.

Students receive daily, one-to-one instruction tailored to their specific learning, developmental and social needs.

The programme has been modified over time in response to research in New Zealand and overseas.

It is expected that the programme will continue to develop, particularly to help Maori and Pasifika students who are over represented in the group of under achieving students. The NZCER evaluation provides useful information to support further development.

“One of the most pleasing comments in the evaluation is that nearly all of the teachers involved in the research said that after students finish the programme they not only use a wide range of skills to read and understand language, but they can explain how they are using those skills,” Mr Fancy said.

The evaluation report, Reading Recovery in New Zealand: Uptake, implementation, and outcomes, especially in relation to Maori and Pasifika students, is available form the Ministry’s website of professional information for teachers, Please note that the report is extensive, at about 300 pages. An executive summary, which is 10 pages long, is also available.

Background statistics

At the end of 2003, a total of 1,478 teachers had taught Reading Recovery that year. In total, 1,389 state and state-integrated primary schools provided almost 435,000 hours of Reading Recovery teaching to 10,785 students. It was used in 67 percent of state and state-integrated primary schools. These schools accounted for 78 percent of all six-year-olds in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Education supports Reading Recovery by providing staffing of 256 full time equivalent teachers, at an approximate cost of $16 million and with a further budget of $2.487 million to cover national tutor training, regional teacher training, regional continuing support, the data base and Ministry-commissioned research.

Further statistical information is available in the report, Annual Monitoring of Reading Recovery: The data for 2003. Please note that this report is not part of the evaluation carried out by NZCER. It is a regular statistical report and does not include evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme.


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