* Reprinted with permission from “Reading Recovery Site Report," Aug. 2012. Written by Jess Jensen, Reading Recovery teacher, at Schleswig Community School District.

Preston began his Reading Recovery lessons with the lowest scores of all the first grade students in the fall. After the book, Dad, a level one text was read to him, he could “re-read” the story with 100% accuracy. He could write one word—Preston. Between a small guided reading group and the 1 to 1 teaching in Reading Recovery lessons, Preston was able to master voice print matching on 2 lines of text. This was a major step as he was previously “reading” a story using his own words and not noticing that what he was saying did not match the number of words on a page. To secure his use of 1 to 1 matching, I made several books for him using the book builder software from Pioneer Valley books. I also make books using pictures of Preston doing things around the school.

During the third week of Preston’s Reading Recovery intervention he started reading with a former 5th grade Reading Recovery student. The reading buddy at school was especially critical because Preston’s books would go unread at home most of the time.

Early in Preston’s series of lessons his classroom teacher started noticing a difference. On spelling tests he was able to write most of the spelling words correctly rather than writing a random string of letters to represent the spelling word. He also showed her and the class, words in his classroom books that he learned during his 1 on 1 lessons. Transferring information from one setting to another was another major milestone for Preston.

Although Preston was making gains he started to fall below the trajectory line of text level reading that was established for him on this RTI plan. At week 12 of his lessons, Preston could read a level 6 book at 94% accuracy with a 1:4 self-correction rate. The literacy team had a conference with mom to discuss options. Preston would get glasses and continue with Reading Recovery. At the end of 20 weeks if he wasn’t reading at grade level, I would continue to work 1 on 1 with him or with a small guided reading group using Literacy Wings as his intervention.

After 20 weeks, Preston’s reading was slightly below grade level. So the next step of the RTI plan was put into action. Preston would join a small group participating in Literacy Wings taught by me. He continued to read and write with me until the end of the school year. He may still need support next year but Preston has made huge gains in literacy learning. Most important, he has gained confidence in himself as a reader. He told the classroom teacher that the two things he liked at school were “Rocket Math” and then he pointed to me with a smile. My heart melted.