Being a Reading Recovery Teacher

When students struggle, the best investment is knowledgeable teachers. Reading Recovery teachers learn, over the course of an academic year, to observe and assess children’s early literacy strengths, to design and deliver individual lessons and to analyze their teaching decisions.

Each school district selects the teachers for Reading Recovery training. Teachers must be currently certified and have a record of successful classroom teaching in the primary grades and it is helpful to have experience with early literacy.

The course begins in September with several days of intensive training on the administration and interpretation of the Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement followed by bi-weekly classes.

During these classes teachers learn to observe and record student behaviours as they read and write, use a variety of teaching procedures, tailor teaching decisions to maximize student learning, articulate their experiences and challenges and apply new understandings to their teaching.

Reading Recovery teacher leaders lead the in-service sessions and support teachers’ study and practice. At each bi-weekly class, live lessons are observed through a one-way glass, enabling colleagues to observe, predict, question, discuss and reflect on the teaching and the learning.

The Teacher Leader visits each teacher-in-training 5 times during the training year to observe a lesson and to provide support and consultation.writng in lesson

Through class discussion and ongoing reflection, teachers integrate their expanding understanding of the theory and practice of early literacy teaching and learning.

Each year the CIRR hosts a National Reading Recovery & Early Literacy Learning Conference for new and seasoned teachers to network, learn new skills, present workshops and gain valuable insights into their work with students struggling to read and write.

Recommended Resources for Reading Recovery Teachers

There are some great resources available for new and experienced Reading Recovery Teachers:

An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement by Marie Clay: This third edition of Marie Clay’s highly-valued An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement presents her familiar assessment tasks designed for systematic observation of young children as they learn to read and write. Always respecting the author’s intention, the editors have taken a fresh look at the way the book’s message is communicated to teachers. Layout and expression have been refreshed to ensure clear understanding, and the administration and interpretation of each task in the survey have been carefully structured for consistent delivery.

Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals by Marie Clay:  This new edition of Marie Clay’s invaluable text contains the teaching procedures, implementation practices, and theoretical understandings that underpin Reading Recovery.

This second edition includes teaching procedures that have been progressively refined and revised over the past ten years in response to the experiences of Reading Recovery professionals, new research, and changes in education systems around the world.

Literacy Lessons describes an early literacy intervention that:

  • builds on children’s strengths as the foundation for learning
  • is directed toward a curriculum of in-the-head processes for working with written language
  • utilizes reading and writing activities
  • maximizes children’s contributions to their own learning.