More recently an independent evaluation of the well-documented, highly successful expansion of the i3-funded scale-up of Reading Recovery ( May, Sirinides, Gray, Goldsworthy 2016) revealed, “The growth rate we observed in students who participated in Reading Recovery over approximately a five-month period was 131 percent of the national average rate for 1st-grade students.” (pg31)
It also revealed that students who participated in Reading Recovery significantly outperformed students in the control group on measures of overall reading, reading comprehension, and decoding. These effects were similarly large for English language learners and students attending rural schools.
The large scale-up met or exceeded all of its expansion goals. The Final independent research report finds i3 scale-up of Reading Recovery ‘highly successful’. With four-year average treatment effects for participating schools ranging from .38 to .99 standard deviations—among the largest documented for a curricular intervention—across several outcomes.
Key findings for success of student achievement focused on the quality of Reading Recovery teachers’ instruction as the pivotal factor in the effectiveness of one-on-one lessons in facilitating students’ progress. Notably “deliberateness” as an encompassing commitment to thoughtful practice and “instructional dexterity” as the flexible application of deep skill. (pg 91)
It found the contextual factors around the school and teacher support the Intervention’s success. Gains in student achievement are a result of faithful implementation of the intervention through high fidelity to Reading Recovery’s program model and formal Guidelines.
They found that instructional strength often develops over time, as a result of Reading Recovery’s rigorous training process and accumulated professional experience. Building and maintaining long-lasting professional networks for ongoing learning created valuable “community -enhanced reflective practice”. (pg 95).
It also identified the “professional specific teacher attributes of reflective good Reading Recovery practitioners”.(pg101) Principals and district leaders who prioritized the program and possessed “leadership content knowledge” are vital for the teachers’ effective instruction.
(May, H., Sirinides, P., Gray, A., & Goldsworthy, H. (2016). Reading Recovery: An evaluation of the four-year i3 scale-up. Philadelphia: Consortium for Policy Research in Education.)