Reading Recovery Case Studies


At the beginning of year 1 John was disengaged, angry, frustrated, lacked confidence, spent much of his time under the table and was reluctant to try anything. At times he was a danger to the other children, the teacher and himself and he needed some time away from the class. John refused to come "compliantly" - he would scream, resist and kick. He appeared to be scared of coming "to the office". His family, his teacher, other staff and I didn't know quite what to do.

We used the Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement (developed by Marie Clay in 2002) on all year 1 children. John was selected for the Reading Recovery Program. John had lots of potential-it just needed to be unlocked.

As the Reading Recovery teacher I worked with John, providing a specifically tailored literacy program that built on what he already knew, responded daily to his learning and identified what he needed to know next. The 1 - 1 nature of the Reading Recovery program meant that John and I were able to build a strong relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. John's teacher and I communicated on a regular basis about John and his progress. We also developed and maintained a strong relationship with his mum. She supported his learning at home.

Over time being involved in the 1-1 explicit, individually tailored Reading Recovery teaching, with a fabulous class teacher and an involved mum, John's oral language, reading and writing quickly increased to age appropriate levels. He developed confidence and persistence. By the middle of the year he was a "changed" child. He happily engaged in learning activities, he was no longer scared of visiting the office and he would visit regularly to share his achievements.

John is in year 4 now and has continued to develop his literacy skills appropriate to his age. He is happy and engaged at school in all areas of the curriculum, with his year 3 LaN results confirming this.

It is my strong belief that the 12 weeks of 1-1 Reading Recovery time in year 1 provided John with the opportunity to be successful enabling him to very quickly catch up to age appropriate reading and writing levels. It also built his positive sense of self and wellbeing and enabled him to develop positive relationships and trust in others.


Susan enrolled at our public school in year 1, having come from outside our system. Before this she had spent 6 terms in reception. Her previous school wanted her to spend another 4 terms in reception because she wasn't reading connected text or writing.

Susan was very timid; she cried a lot, particularly when it was "writing" time and was reluctant to have a go at many things. Her favourite activity was creatively making things with boxes and other craft materials.

I administered the Observational Survey of Early Literacy Achievement (developed by Marie Clay in 2002) and Susan's score meant she was eligible for Reading Recovery.

The 1-1 nature of Reading Recovery meant that Susan and I quickly developed a strong relationship and she developed the confidence to have a go at things she had avoided up till now. Her program was specifically tailored to her needs and bui

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