Reading Recovery is an early intervention created by Dr. Marie Clay for first grade children identified as having difficulty learning to read and write. The goal is to create independent learners who become stronger each time they read or write. This is done through accelerated learning. Students must make faster than average progress in order to catch up with their class. Intensive one-on-one instruction is given to students five days a week, in thirty minute sessions based on the each individual child's needs. This instruction is in addition to regular classroom instruction and lasts only 12-20 weeks. Children are “discontinued” from the program when there is solid evidence that they possess the needed skills and strategies to enable them to continue to make progress without the one-on-one assistance.
Reading Recovery uses and builds on real conversation between the teacher and the child. This teacher-child talk has been found to be an effective way of helping students learn to deal with the very complex tasks of learning to read and write. The lesson follows a fairly strict routine of components but contains activities that are tailored to the specific needs of the individual child.
The 30 minute Reading Recovery lesson has seven distinct parts:
1. The child rereads several familiar books to practice fluency and orchestration of strategic processes.
2. The teacher takes a running record of the child reading a book that was introduced during the previous lesson. The teacher only observes and records what the child reads. After the reading by the child, the teacher selects one or two powerful things to teach.
3. The child is then guided through discovery of how letters make sounds and those sounds make words.
4. The child then writes a story with the teacher helping him to hear the sounds in the words and to write the correct letters for those sounds using a variety of writing strategies.
5. The child rearranges his story from a cut-up story provided by the teacher.
6. The teacher introduces a new book carefully selected for this child's needs.
7. The child reads the new book using the skills and strategies that he has learned.