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ul 3.18.13

Literacy Lessons

Expand the One-to-One Power of Reading Recovery Teaching to Other Student Populations with Literacy Lessons

Schools and districts that invest in Reading Recovery now have the opportunity to expand this professional learning to teachers who work with special populations of students beyond first grade.

Many Reading Recovery university teacher leader training centers and teacher training sites now offer a new professional development option for special education or ESL-certified teachers.

Literacy Lessons Intervention Specialists

Literacy Lessons intervention specialists primarily serve students who continue to experience difficulty with early literacy learning beyond first grade, usually up to age 9.

They also select children from their regular caseloads and use knowledge they’ve gained from Literacy Lessons training with small groups and classrooms outside the one-to-one individual lessons.

Literacy Lessons intervention specialists learn to

  • observe and assess a child’s reading skills,
  • design lessons that build on the child’s existing knowledge,
  • select “just right” books for children and craft book introductions,
  • expertly guide conversations that lead to language development, and
  • accelerate progress through the reciprocity of reading and writing.

Literacy Expertise

No scripted program can substitute for a knowledgeable teacher who knows how to design individual lessons based on learner strengths. The following elements are essential in both Reading Recovery and Literacy Lessons training:

  • Graduate credit granted through a college or university
  • Regularly scheduled classes, either at the Reading Recovery university training center or taught by a teacher leader at a school-based Reading Recovery training site
  • The study of Marie Clay’s literacy processing theory
  • Teaching of individual lessons to students while learning
  • Observing and participating in live teaching sessions with colleagues 

RTI Connection

Training in Literacy Lessons supports schools with their response to intervention (RTI) programming. The assessment tasks that are a part of Literacy Lessons provide both identification and monitoring data that support and accelerate student learning.

Screening Tool Recognized by NCRTI

The Observation Survey of Early Achievement — the screening tool used by trained Reading Recovery and Literacy Lessons professionals — is recognized as valid and reliable by the National Center for Response to Intervention (NCRTI). NCRTI assigned the highest rating possible — Convincing Evidence — in all categories: classification accuracy, generalizability, reliability, validity, and disaggregated data for diverse populations. With this approval by the NCRTI Technical Review Committee, the Observation Survey can be used by school psychologists, special educators, and others as an evidence-based screening instrument to identify children at risk for literacy failure.

Strong Research Evidence of Effectiveness

Using rigorous standards, two agencies funded through the U.S. Department of Education have reviewed Reading Recovery research studies. The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) rated Reading Recovery as positive or potentially positive across all four domains — alphabetics (phonics and phonemic awareness), fluency, comprehension, and general reading achievement. And among all programs reviewed by the WWC, Reading Recovery received the highest rating in general reading achievement. The National Center for Intensive Intervention (NCII) reviewed Reading Recovery research, listing three studies that show large effect sizes for Reading Recovery students.

Reports Cited

NCRTI Screening Tools Chart
WWC Beginning Reading Intervention Report: Reading Recovery®
NCII Academic Intervention Tools Chart


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