Magazine article NATE Classroom

Reading Recovery

Magazine article NATE Classroom

Reading Recovery

Article excerpt


What is Every Child a Reader (ECaR)?

Every Child a Reader began as a unique collaboration between charitable trusts, the business sector and government. It set out to demonstrate that literacy difficulties can be overcome with effective early intervention. It has been a resounding success. In September 2008, the initiative will be managed by government through the Primary National strategy working in Partnership with the Reading Recovery National Network at London's Institute of Education. The bedrock of the initiative is the funding of highly skilled Reading Recovery Teachers who provide intensive help to the lowest attaining six-year-olds.

What is Reading Recovery?

Reading Recovery is designed for the lowest attaining children, who have made little progress in reading and writing during at least one full year at school. They are often very confused or may seem slow to learn and their progress has defied usual expectations of what helps children learn to read and write. So a very specific, personalised programme has to be designed for that child, based upon what s/he knows, understands and can make sense of, however little that may be initially.

What is the goal of Reading Recovery lessons?

At the end of their series of lessons the child must be able to continue to learn at a normal rate of progress, from classroom teaching, without the need for further supplementary support. So an additional imperative for the teacher is to develop the child as an independent reader and writer, with a have-a-go attitude to new literacy learning.

How can I find out more?

Visit the website at or Download the reports at The full report, 'A Comparison of Literacy Progress of Young Children in London Schools: A Reading Recovery Follow up Study' by Dr. Sue G. Burroughs-Lange, can be accessed at

It's the National Year of Reading and, as always, improving literacy learning outcomes for children is high on the national agenda. The PIRLs study of 2006 continued to highlight the relationship between success in literacy and educational achievement more generally. Another aspect to consider when measuring a schooling system's success in meeting the needs of literacy learners is how many children are left behind. The current government is investing substantially to extend the Every Child a Reader initiative. At its heart this enterprise has Reading Recovery as an early prevention, aimed at averting later difficulties. By 2011, some 30,000 children annually will benefit from literacy intervention as part of this initiative. Every Child a Reader represents a significant shift in strategic thinking about how schools can ensure that no child goes onto secondary schooling as a non-reader.

What sorts of change can we expect to see as increasing numbers of children have a short series of individual literacy lessons in Reading Recovery?

What have we learned about literacy intervention?

Most research into social outcomes for children struggling with literacy learning suggests that signs of wider difficulties begin to emerge early in the primary school phase. The achievement gap, once in place, is highly resistant to change and most likely will continue into adolescence and an adulthood plagued by low levels of literacy competence. A large group of school leavers with limited literacy skills has serious implications for society beyond those directly associated with education, as demonstrated by the KPMG Foundation's 2006 report into the long-term costs to society of literacy failure.

The recently updated review of literacy interventions by Professor Greg Brooks (2007) acknowledges that there are some children for whom class teaching is not enough. The review suggests some very pertinent questions that schools need to ask when deciding how best to meet the needs of young literacy learners who are beginning to fall behind. …

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