June 2019: Reading Recovery in SD61

Reading Recovery achieved strong results, receiving positive or potentially positive ratings across all four outcomes — alphabetics (phonics and phonemic awareness), fluency, comprehension, and reading achievement. Among programs reviewed, Reading Recovery received the highest improvement index in reading achievement and fluency.

In my almost 40 years of work assisting students with learning challenges in public education (as a teacher, EA and then again a teacher) the rigorous data I was required to keep as an RR teacher tell me the 10 years I taught individualized Reading Recovery lessons to sometimes very unhappy struggling kids in grade 1 were years in which I made a demonstrated positive difference in children’s lives. I will never forget letters from parents (still have them) and thank yous from the children. “Thank you for teaching me to read” notes from those kids still and always will touch my heart deeply.

But even with excellent highly trained specialist teaching, a few children will need ongoing support. Most children in RR lessons will become independent readers at the end of their 12 – 22 weeks of daily intensive half hour RR lessons.

Every school district that offers RR is intensively supported in ongoing implementation by a highly educated Teacher Leader reading specialist.

Yes, it’s a cost. When children struggle and doubt themselves, we can pay now, or pay later. “Later” is much more costly in monetary and human terms.

SD63 Saanich has full implementation in all (8) elementary schools.
SD62 Sooke has full implementation in all (18)elementary schools.

SD61 Greater Victoria has implementation in 14 of 27 elementary schools.
Any  school in SD61 that wants Reading Recovery pays for half the teacher’s FTE from school based funds, and the other half of the teacher’s salary comes from District funding. Funding for implementation in SD61 is currently capped at 14 schools.

This implementation budget decision flows from decisions of the Board.

That can change.

May 13/19 Operations Policy and Planning Standing Committee: McNally: That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) direct the Superintendent to develop a budget that includes provision for full salary payment from the District budget for Reading Recovery teachers. / McNally: Request to table until fall meeting of the Board approved by committee members ( Hentze, Leonard, Paynter (Chair) Whiteaker, Watters ex officio).

Slides below presented by the SD61 / SD63 shared Teacher Leader at the Education Policy and Directions Standing Committee June 3/19.

About Diane McNally