Reading Recovery is a viable, balanced approach to literacy: Thoughts about my upcoming session at LitCon by Dr. Sam Bommarito

In the three-plus years since I began this blog, I’ve written about Reading Recovery several times. I’ve said there is a lot we can learn from reading recovery LINK. I said that Reading Recovery works. I talked about how studies from What Works Clearinghouse found it was the only early intervention program that positively impacted decoding skills and comprehension LINK. When WWC reported on a randomized trial of 6,888 students, they found RR met WWC standards without reservation LINK. Some critics claim the effects of RR don’t stick. However, when I interviewed Susan Vincent, who currently teaches at Miami University and who has a long-time affiliation with RR,  LINK, she reported that when her former district looked at the long-term effects of RR, they found that the RR teaching stuck. I wondered why the results in Susan’s district were so different from those reported by the critics.  Susan explained that RR is a short-term intervention designed to catch students up. Reading Recovery sets students up to make normal progress when they return to their district’s mainstream program. In the case of Susan’s district, students in the mainstream program make good progress every year.  However, if RR students return to districts where most students are making little or no progress, one would expect their progress to match that of those students, i.e., little or no progress. Critics who don’t consider that in their studies are reporting incomplete and misleading results. Be sure to consider that when reading studies that claim RR teaching doesn’t stick.

I was trained in RR many years ago. I mark that training as a major milestone in my teaching career. To this day, I continue to use what I learned from RR. I am not alone in the feeling that recovery training helps to make teachers better. When I shared that feeling on social media- the response from other recovery teachers was overwhelmingly positive LINK. They learned so much.  For instance, Susan Vincent reported that when she did her OG training, she already knew what they were teaching her about phonemes et al. She had learned it all during her RR training.

Now let’s look at highlights from my LitCon presentation that will be coming up this January:

The message that I will be giving is clear. RR works. It is based on “gold standard research.”  I won’t claim that it works for everyone or that it is a one size fits all program. But I will echo the thoughts of Paul Thomas, who will also be presenting at LitCon. Dr. Thomas says the dialogue about literacy should change from what all students must do to what all students deserve. I’ll be making the case that students deserve RR as one option to help them.  

I will now give a link to a short promo about my presentation and after that, a link to register for the conference. I hope to see you there!

Link to my 2-minute promo:

Link to the conference registration: LINK

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

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2 thoughts on “Reading Recovery is a viable, balanced approach to literacy: Thoughts about my upcoming session at LitCon by Dr. Sam Bommarito

  1. luqmanmichel

    A page on Reading Recovery may be worth reading on page 296 of Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties by Dr. David Kilpatrick.


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