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Teachers trained in Reading Recovery boost reading skills of more than 11,650 first graders

EHE News
May 22, 2012

More than 1,170 school teachers in 34 states have been trained in Reading Recovery, an award-winning intervention from the College of Education and Human Ecology that helps first graders who struggle to read and write.

Funded by a $45 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as $10 million in gifts from donors, Reading Recovery: Scaling up What Works has expanded the implementation of Reading Recovery nationwide since autumn 2010.

The grant provides most of the professional development costs for teachers to train in Reading Recovery, including professional books, teaching materials, tuition for graduate credit and a professional stipend.

Almost 20 percent more teachers than expected responded to the invitation to enroll in Reading Recovery professional development this year, adding to the 5,700 existing teachers who are active in Reading Recovery nationwide this year.

With the end of the 2011-12 school year, these teachers have provided the evidence-based intervention to 11,652 first-graders and, in their other teaching roles during the rest of the day, have assisted 52,236 more school children in classrooms or small groups.

Grant directors Jerry D'Agostino, professor of educational policy and leadership, and Emily Rodgers, associate professor of teaching and learning, said this puts the massive scale-up on track to enroll 3,690 teachers by the end of 2015.

Using the Reading Recovery targeted approach to school reform, the teachers, chosen by their schools, focus on first-grade students having the greatest difficulty learning to read and write. Typically, those students are in the lowest 20 percent of their classes.

The teachers provide children with one-to-one, 30-minute lessons each day for up to 20 weeks. The lessons accelerate their learning so they catch up with their peers and close the achievement gap.

Help for more than 88,700 children struggling to read and write

Emily Rodgers

Jerry D'Agostino

By the end of the five-year grant period, D'Agostino and Rodgers expect that more than 88,700 children will have received the proven, one-to-one Reading Recovery intervention.

In addition to working with individual children, Reading Recovery teachers support other school children in small groups and in the classroom.

By the end of the five-year grant period, 396,400 additional school children will be taught by i3-trained teachers in classrooms.

Research shows that children who do not learn to read by third grade are more likely to drop out of school before graduation. Reading Recovery helps ensure that young readers who lag in reading skills become confident, capable readers.

The scale-up is taking place in partnership with Reading Recovery training centers at universities across the United States.

States and the universities where these partners are located and receive part of the i3 grant funding to train teachers are:

Arkansas (University of Arkansas), California (Saint Mary's College of California, San Diego State University), Connecticut (University of Connecticut), Georgia (Georgia State), Illinois (National-Louis University), Iowa (University of Northern Iowa), Kansas (Emporia State), Kentucky (University of Kentucky), Maine (University of Maine), Massachusetts (Lesley University), Michigan (Oakland University), New York (New York University), North Carolina (University of North Carolina at Wilmington), Ohio (The Ohio State University), Pennsylvania (Shippensburg University), South Carolina (Clemson University), South Dakota (University of South Dakota) and Texas (Texas Woman's University).

A rigorous external evaluation of the project is being led by Henry May, senior research investigator from the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania. Findings will support strong causal inferences about the impact of Reading Recovery on the reading achievement of first-grade students and their subsequent reading performance in the third and fourth grades.

In addition, the research team plans to identify factors that are related to variations in the impact of Reading Recovery. The findings from CPRE's evaluation may shed light on the factors necessary for the successful implementation of Reading Recovery, as well as factors critical to sustain Reading Recovery in school districts over time.

Schools interested in committing teachers to Reading Recovery professional development are invited to learn more about the scale-up.

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