The Reading Recovery Council of North America (RRCNA) recently commended Northwest AEA's Reading Recovery program for the student achievement progress made since the program began 17 years ago.

In a statement RRCNA recently said, "The Reading Recovery community in North America would like to recognize the outstanding work at the Northwest Iowa Area Education Agency as part of our 25th anniversary celebration, which begins this fall."

RRCNA plans to publish information about Northwest AEA's Reading Recovery implementation and training this fall either on the RRCNA website or in The Journal of Reading Recovery.  

Salli Forbes, Reading Recovery trainer at the University of Northern Iowa, recommended Northwest AEA's site because "It has demonstrated successful implementation for more than 10 years, has a discontinuing rate that met or exceeded the national average in 2007-2008, worked with schools that used Reading Recovery as part of their comprehensive literacy plan, and showed evidence of continued support for Reading Recovery."

Northwest AEA's Reading Recovery leadership team includes Pat Fostvedt-Oxendale, teacher leader at Northwest AEA; Joan Dodds, teacher leader at the Sioux City Community School District; and Mary Groen, site coordinator, for the Northwest AEA Teacher Training Site.

This team said they are very proud of all the teachers who have participated in the weekly training classes at Northwest AEA to become Reading Recovery teachers. Because of their hard work and passion, the discontinuing data for full-program children has consistently been above the national average. Discontinuing data is figured on the number of students who are reading at grade level when their series of lessons is ended, usually after about 15 weeks.

The Reading Recovery team reported that they are especially proud of the 82 percent discontinuing rate achieved during the 2008-2009 school year. The average increase of ten points from previous years is largely due to several initiatives put into place last year. There was a committed effort of weekly e-mails and face-to-face communications between Reading Recovery teachers, classroom teachers, ESL teachers, speech/language pathologists and principals regarding each students' Reading Recovery lessons. A weekly book graph with an aim line that ended at 15 weeks kept the sense of urgency alive. A “progress wall” was used for monitoring all fist grade students’ reading progress, in addition to indicating placement of students in guided reading groups throughout the year.

The team stated that the progress and success experienced over the years at the Northwest AEA site would not have been possible without the support of Dr. Linda Madison, assistant superintendent of Sioux City Community School District, who helped launch Reading Recovery in northwest Iowa; Mike Pardun, Denison Community School District superintendent and a member of the Reading Recovery Council of North America Superintendents Advisory Board; and Dr. Tim Grieves, chief administrator of Northwest Area Education Agency and a member of the Reading Recovery Council of Iowa Advisory Board.

The Northwest AEA Reading Recovery team said that in addition to the behind-the-scenes persons, the Reading Recovery teachers within Northwest AEA are some of the most professional and dedicated teachers in the profession.

"Each one truly believes that each Reading Recovery student will become a reader and a writer," said the leadership team.

Each month, Northwest AEA would like to highlight a success story happening in northwest Iowa. We are interested in hearing from you! Please send your stories about student achievement or increased student learning to