An interview with Rachel Gabriel: Her views on key literacy issues, including the efficacy of Reading Recovery: Interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito
This week I had the privilege of interviewing Rachel Gabriel. Here is a screen capture of her biography:
In this interview, Rachael began by telling us a little about her background. She did her doctoral work as a student of Richard Allington. Rachael is well-published, including articles for the Reading Research Quarterly. After telling us about her background, she strongly endorsed the work done by Reading Recovery. Rachael indicated that she is on the board of Reading Recovery of North America. She said that Reading Recovery supports teachers. It doesn’t leave them alone when they are stuck. She also noted that children served by Reading Recovery benefit from how the community of Reading Recovery teachers supports teachers as they help the children. I especially liked her insight that because of the huge supporting network of Reading Recovery teachers, when you are a six- or seven-year-old sitting across from a Reading Recovery teacher, you are not just sitting across from that teacher. You are also sitting across from all the teachers in her network and all the teachers that came before them in all the previous networks.
After talking about the extensive support Reading Recovery teachers give to each other and their students, she turned her attention to the statistics around the strength of the one recent study claiming that the impact was not sustained over time. The study claimed that Reading Recovery had a negative impact. She pointed out that that conclusion was based on a .2 standard deviation difference. She indicated that that is not a meaningful difference. (My take- it is a statistically significant difference, but it is so small that it is not educationally significant). She also pointed out that many other studies indicate that RR does have sustained effects. She then explained her ideas about the weaponization of research. Those ideas were explored in detail in my blog last week LINK. Finally, she talked about teacher evaluation and how to do that in a way that supports and develops teachers. Links to books she has written around this topic are provided later in this blog.
Here is the YouTube Video:
Here are the time-stamped topics/questions covered in the interview:
|Tell us about your opinion of the Reading Recovery program||02:06|
|Talk about what you mean by the “Weaponization of Research”||09:54|
|Talk about teacher evaluation and the best ways to carry out teacher evaluation.||15:34|
Link to Rachael’s books: LINK
I think my readers will find Rachael’s ASCD article about The Sciences of Reading Instruction informative. Here is a LINK to the article and a highlight from the article.
Overall, in my quest to find common ground and common sense in all the issues around the question of how to teach literacy, I find reassurance and guidance from folks like Rachael. She is adept at explaining research so that all of us can understand it. Her ideas and insights can help us all become better teachers who can help the kids grow into the lifetime readers and writers we want them to be. I am so grateful that she took the time to talk to all of us about the whole issue of how to teach reading.
I have several interviews with other literacy leaders coming up in the next few weeks. They will include folks from all sides. So, until next week,
Happy Reading and Writing!
Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)
Copyright 2022 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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