What I Learned from Reading Recovery-Series Introduction

Years ago, I mean YEARS ago...
I had the opportunity to be trained as a Reading Recovery teacher.

I have to tell you, it was the best literacy training I have ever received!

Don't get me wrong, my alma mater has a wonderful reputation for preparing teachers!
I slight them none.

At the time, we Americans just weren't aware of the phenomenal literacy practices taking place in other lands, specifically New Zealand!

The year I spent learning all the ends and outs of Reading Recovery was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding years in my teaching career.

I had the chance to meet Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell,
AND... Marie Clay herself attended my RR graduation.
Here's a pic just to prove it.

Not the best or most flattering pic, but the only one I have with Marie Clay!
Yes, those are shoulder pads!
I was wearing stockings, too.
Cream colored panty hose and cream flats.
Oh, 1994!   

Marie had just shaken my hand!
If you are a teacher nerd like me, you get that!! 

Moving on, it's been quite a while since I returned to the regular classroom,
but the strategies and beliefs of Reading Recovery have stayed with me.

I'd love to share with you what I learned from this incredible program!

Today, I'll just hit the highlights of a Reading Recovery Lesson.

In the posts to come, I'll break down each part of the lesson and share how I use them in my Guided Reading lessons.

 Components of a Reading Recovery Lesson

Reading Recovery lessons last 30 minutes.

The first ten lessons in RR are called Roaming. They give you a chance to get to know the child and his/her strengths and weaknesses. More on this next time!

1) Familiar Reread-RR lessons begin with re-readings of familiar books. The child reads 2-4 familiar books depending on book level and time.

2) Running Record-The last familiar reread is the book introduced the day before. This is where the running record is taken each day.

3) Teaching Points-After the running record, the teacher chooses 1-2 teaching points based on what she observed. Maybe 1 critical and 1 smaller point. Nothing overwhelming.

4) Word Work-We all know what word work is. Break out those magnetic letters!

5) Writing-In this part of the lesson, the child constructs a short "story." This is actually a sentence, but children like to call it a story. This is where Elkonin Boxes come in!

6) Cut-apart Sentence-After the child constructs his/her "story" and reads it aloud, the teacher records it on a sentence strip and cuts the sentence strip apart for the child to manipulate.

 7) New Book-The last part of a RR lesson is the new book. The teacher and child take a picture walk as the new book is introduced. Then the child reads the book for the first time, putting into practice new word solving strategies.

Wow! That's a lot!

And, this was just a skeleton of Reading Recovery.
Later this week, I'll post on Roaming and Familiar Re-reads!
Happy Sunday, friends!

By the way, Check out Marie Clay's books!
She is truly a wealth of information!





  1. I was trained in Reading Recovery years ago as well, and like you, it was the best professional development opportunity of my career. It definitely shaped the way I teach today. On the other hand, I differ in the fact that I don't have a picture of Marie Clay and me! :)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. Haha! Hi, Tammy! Teacher prep programs could learn so much from Reading Recovery! I miss teaching it sometimes! It was a lot of work but SO meaningful!! If you have anything to add to my posts, please let me know! Hope you have a great week!

  2. I'm so excited you're posting about this! I so badly want to be trained in Reading Recovery! I've learned a lot about RR through teachers I work with, but I know nothing compares to the actual training. I can't wait to read your next posts in this series!

  3. It's all back to basics! Such fabulous stuff~must be the shoulder pads!
    ~Christy & Tammy
    Fluttering Through First Grade

  4. I was never formally trained in Reading Recovery but studied it during my master's degree program and also had several district trainings that used RR strategies. They so worth learning and stuck with me through several grade levels.