Success Through Ongoing Support: Follow Up and Initiative
In the first blog, we mentioned that we work together as Trainers at the same UTC and both became a bit bionic last year with a new hip (Deb) and new knee (Adria). As we prepared for surgery, recovery, and follow up, it occurred to us that our ongoing support was similar to what we provide to children throughout the Reading Recovery® program in many ways.
These were a few of our realizations:
- The better prepared for surgery, the better the outcome.
- The more coordinated the surgical care team is, the better the results.
- The need for physical therapy after surgery is important.
- The ongoing exercise is part of the process.
In this post, we discuss the care we received after our surgeries and how this is similar to the support provided to children after their Reading Recovery lesson series is completed.
The need for physical therapy after surgery is important
Each of us continued to work with our physical therapists to regain mobility and strength after surgery. Similarly, Reading Recovery Teachers continue to monitor Reading Recovery students after the series of lessons are complete. The program is designed to support all effective models of classroom instruction. There are many systems for maintaining records and communicating students’ progress across the school and district. These records enable schools and districts to monitor the long-term impact of Reading Recovery instruction and students’ growth. In the recent large-scale study in the United Kingdom reported sustained effects for students through age 16 (Hurry, Fridkin, & Holliman, 2022).
Teachers periodically check in with children to listen to their reading, examine classroom journals, and loan books to support them as they continue to grow as readers and writers. This social-emotional learning connection goes beyond the intensive time of the intervention. Reading Recovery teachers have built relationships with children and these connections continue as long as the children are in the building or attending a nearby school. Teachers check in regularly, every month or two, to continue to support, encourage, and cheerlead students’ ongoing learning. Reading Recovery teachers help create seamless transitions for children from the intervention setting to classroom instruction alone by continuing to communicate with classroom teachers.
The ongoing exercise is part of the process
We both remember what it was like to end intensive physical therapy and take responsibility for ongoing improvement upon ourselves. Children’s transition to the classroom is similar to our adjusting to less frequent sessions with our physical therapists and taking on the responsibility for exercising at home. We never stop exercising, we simply become more independent. Children become readers and writers and continue to grow as learners as they create a self-extending system. We maintain our exercise program, vary it, and find new exercises on our own to add. We are self-motivated to regain and sustain our mobility. In the classroom, students take initiative to choose books they want to read, the vocabulary they want to learn, and to write in new genres because they are self-motivated and self-directed learners.
As we consider the connections between our surgical experiences and learning in Reading Recovery, we know we stretched a point. The end goal is clear. This is a long-term system of support that doesn’t end when the lesson series is completed. We urge you to continue to ask, “What scaffolding are we providing in our school system to maintain students’ early literacy gains?”
Adria Klein, Ph.D., is the Reading Recovery Trainer and Director of the Comprehensive Literacy Center at Saint Mary’s College of California. Dr. Klein is the co-author of many professional books and articles including Research in Reading Recovery, as well as many children’s books. Her latest books are Meaningful Reading Assessment, and Small-Group Reading Instruction 2nd edition, both with Peter Afflerbach. She has written about literacy and mathematics for over two decades.
Debra Rich is a Reading Recovery Trainer, Comprehensive Literacy Model Trainer, Comprehensive Intervention Model Trainer, and Assistant Director of the Comprehensive Literacy Center at Saint Mary’s College of California. She currently serves as the President-Elect of the Reading Recovery Council of North America, is a member of the Reading Recovery Executive Council, and leadership committee for LitCon. Her research interests include educational reform, classroom discourse, vocabulary development (including academic language), and the integration of literacy and mathematics. Deb is committed to equity and inclusion, and actively advocates for access to literacy as a fundamental right for all children.
Clay, M. (2019). An observation survey of early literacy achievement, 4th ed. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Clay, M., Gill, M., Glynn, T., McNaughton, T., & Salmon, K. (2015). Record of oral language: Observing changes in the acquisition of language structures. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Clay, M. (2015). Biks and gutches: Learning to inflect English. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Hurry, J., Fridkin, L., & Holliman, A.J., (2022). Reading intervention at age 6: Long-term effects of Reading Recovery in the UK on qualifications and support at age 16. British Educational Research Journal, 48(1), 5-21