First graders in the Reading Recovery program made dramatic gains in word recognition and comprehension in the first year of a massive expansion financed by the federal Investing in Innovation program.
Over a school year, participating pupilsthan similar peers who did not take part in the intervention, and gained nearly 30 percent more learning than the average 1st grader nationally, according to the first of three independent evaluations of the program by a team from the Consortium for Policy Research in Education.
“In many cases, these kids are going from not being able to read well, or not being able to read at all, to being able to read just as well as the average 1st grader nationally,” said lead investigator Henry May, the director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Research in Education and Social Policy and a senior researcher at the consortium.
Reading Recovery, developed in New Zealand and introduced in the United States by Ohio State University in 1984, includes intensive, individual instruction by trained teachers for 30 minutes each day. It received $43.6 million from the first round of the i3 grant to train 3,690 new teachers and 15 new teacher leaders.
For their study, researchers randomly assigned 866 pupils in 147 schools, all of whom performed in the lowest 15 to 20 percent of readers in their grade, to receive either normal reading instruction or Reading Recovery. By mid-year, the Reading Recovery students performed on average at the 36th percentile in reading on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills—twice as well as the control group, which scored at the 18th percentile.
A version of this article appeared in the December 04, 2013 edition of Education Week as Reading Recovery Pays Off in i3 Study