Reading Recovery in the Classroom

“I consider myself to be a Reading Recovery teacher. I was trained in 1999 and worked for four years as a Reading Recovery/literacy support coordinator. During that time I worked with teachers and gave tips on how they could use Reading Recovery techniques in the classroom. I was very proud of the fact I could teach them how to use running records and sound boxes. I devised a whole list of activities that could be done in the classroom. All of this had merit, but I think I missed the bigger picture of what Reading Recovery is about. It is about looking at the children and thinking of what I can do to help them understand the reading process. It is about being explicit, not wasting time and getting the most out of them as learners. The other things are the tools we use in order to achieve our aims.
This year I have returned to the classroom. I was a bit worried as it had been a long time, and I was given a prep grade. It is funny with classroom teaching, when you are doing all the things necessary to run a class you just do it, but on reflection you think about the lunchboxes, the meetings, the parents, the ‘I want to go home’, ‘he won’t play with me’, ‘she took my lunch’ and you wonder: how did I do it all? Anyway, being a positive person, I decided if other people could manage, I could manage too.
My year started this year as most prep grades do. The children would come in to school, there would be activities on the tables and the children would move around the room as they pleased. As a Reading Recovery teacher I was very mindful about introducing them to their books, so I took the opportunity while they were playing to select a book for them that would match their needs. I was amazed at the rapid improvement in their reading levels. I was treating each child as a Reading Recovery student, introducing them to a new book and prompting them according to their needs.
I began to wonder, was it the time the children were allowed to develop or was it the explicit teaching or was it both?
So I thought I would analyse what else has changed. …”

Read on …