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Education Updates and Features

Reading Recovery Earns Endorsement from What Works Clearinghouse

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Reading Recovery Council Of North America Logo

UNCW is one of 19 universities across the nation partnering with The Ohio State University to scale up Reading Recovery by offering graduate level credit to train teachers in Reading Recovery.

An independent study concerning Reading Recovery’s effectiveness conducted in 2013 was added to the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in October. The study, conducted by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE), met the WWC’s group design standards “without reservation” which is the highest design rating the WWC assesses.

The study follows an earlier report titled “Evaluation of the i3 Scale-up of Reading Recovery Year One Report, 2011-2012” that was also accepted by the clearinghouse.

The WWC was established in 2002 as an initiative of the Institute for Educational Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of the WWC is to be a resource for informed education decision making. The organization identifies studies that provide credible and reliable evidence of the effectiveness of practices, programs and policies, and disseminates information and reports on the WWC website.

Barbara Honchell, associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy and Special Education and director of UNCW’s Reading Recovery program said literacy is one of the WWC’s biggest areas for review. “The WWC reviewed over 200 literacy programs and Reading Recovery is the only one found to meet all standards,” Honchell said.

The Reading Recovery program was founded in New Zealand in the 1960s. Ohio State brought the program to the U.S. in 1984 and it has been offered at UNCW since 1990. Reading Recovery employs one-to-one tutoring sessions and serves as an early intervention program for first-graders who struggle with reading. Research shows that the program boosts students’ reading levels after just 12 to 20 weeks.

In 2010, Ohio State received a $46 million federal grant to dramatically expand the Reading Recovery Program. Funds were awarded through the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant initiative by the U.S. Department of Education. Over the past five years, Ohio State has partnered with 19 universities to train 3,690 additional teachers, nearly doubling the size of the program across the country.

UNCW supports eight Reading Recovery Teacher Training Centers and 19 school districts in North Carolina and Virginia. Local participating districts include New Hanover, Pender and Onslow. Across the state, Beaufort, Currituck, Edenton-Chowan, Elizabeth City Pasquotank, Harnett, Henderson, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Perquimans and Union counties participate in Reading Recovery’s i3 grant. During the 2013-14 school year, this support reached 195 teachers and 1,250 first grade students.

“We know that the teachers and administrators have seen remarkable changes in student learning over Reading Recovery’s short-term intervention,” Honchell said. “We also know that today’s educators increasingly rely on research to guide decision-making. The recent WWW review confirms Reading Recovery’s positive impact on student learning.”

The full report conducted by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) is available at http://www.cpre.org/rr.  CPRE member institutions are the University of Pennsylvania, Teachers College Columbia University, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Northwestern University.  The evaluation report is a collaborative publication between CPRE and the University of Delaware Center for Research in Education & Social Policy (CRESP). 

The WWC Review of the Report “Evaluation of the i3 Scale-up of Reading Recovery Year One Report, 2011-2012” is available at: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/SingleStudyReview.aspx?sid=10110

The WWC 2013 Report on Reading Recovery Research is available at:http://readingrecovery.org/images/pdfs/Reading_Recovery/Research_and_Evaluation/reading_recovery_wwc_update_071613.pdf