What the resource is:
This research report, written in 2009, is an evaluation of the intensive one-to one Reading Recovery programme which supports six-year olds identified as being poor readers and which is part of the Every Child a Reader strategy in the UK.
This evaluation is a long-term follow-up to a previous evaluation which showed that children receiving Reading Recovery had made significant gains in literacy in relation to a comparison group in the short term and that these gains had also been maintained by the end of Year 1 and Year 2. This latest report seeks to evaluate whether these gains are still evident after a three year period by analysing the teacher-assessed National Curriculum levels for the original cohort of pupils at the end of Year 4, i.e. three years after the original Reading Recovery intervention.
The analysis of the quantitative assessments shows that there does in fact continue to be a significant improvement on reading levels at the end of Year 4. Additionally, qualitative interview data indicates that pupils and parents particularly valued the early intervention.
The aims of the resource:
The research aims to compare the long term literacy attainments of children who received Reading Recovery with children of similar baseline levels who did not receive the intervention.
Target group and methods
The target groups involved 73 pupils who had received Reading Recovery, 120 comparison pupils in schools who had not implemented Reading Recovery and 48 children who were in Reading Recovery schools but who had not taken part in the programme.
Reading was measured using the end of Year 4 teacher-assessed National Curriculum sublevels. The views of parents and pupils were sought through interviews with fifteen of the pupils who had received Reading Recovery and nine of their parents. Questions were asked about children's reading in the following areas: their enjoyment, confidence, reading in and out of school, their ability, any extra help with reading or other areas of the curriculum. Researchers also asked children to read from their reading book.
The Reading Recovery (RR) children were found to still be significantly better in reading and writing than either the children in non-RR schools and children in RR schools who had not received the intervention. The difference between the RR children and the comparison children in non-RR schools was the greatest. The RR children had reached an average of 3b in reading and 2a in writing and were ahead of the comparison children in non-RR schools by just under half a NC level in reading and a third of a level in writing. However, there was less of a difference between the comparison pupils who had not received the intervention in RR schools with the RR children being a third of a NC level ahead in reading and with no difference in writing.
The quality, authority and credibility of the resource:
The research report provides a sound rationale for the importance of using an early reading intervention for pupils lagging behind their peers. It clearly outlines the methods used in the previous study and compares these with the methods used in this study. However, while the authors correlate the teacher-assessed NC levels with the measuring tools used in the original evaluation at the end of Year 2 i.e. Word Recognition and Phonic Skills Measure (WRAPS); the British Abilities Scales (BAS) Word Reading Test II; and Progress in English 7 (PiE7), their argument might have been stronger if they had again used some of these previous tests in their own study alongside the teacher-assessed National Curriculum levels.
The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
The report is relevant to ITE tutors as it provides an evidence-base for early intervention for pupils underachieving in literacy and the long-term benefits for later learning. It also includes a range of measuring tools for assessing progress in literacy that will be useful for tutors to share with trainee teachers. The case study section also provides some real-life examples to discuss with students.
The relevance to ITE students:
The article is relevant for ITE students approaching their final school-based experience as it provokes thought about what can be done to support those pupils who do not seem to be progressing as well as their peers in literacy. It is also particularly relevant for any ITE students interested in developing expertise in the field of special educational needs.