Research in the study of learning disabilities and special education practice are both in the throes of a paradigm shift and Marie Clay’s work was at the root of this shift. Her Reading Recovery program was clearly the prototype for RTI approaches to identifying children at risk for long-term reading difficulties, some of whom might well be impaired by organically based cognitive deficits as she herself pointed out. Ironically, she has not been credited with her enormous and seminal contribution to this paradigm shift …” (Vellutino, 2010, p. 22)

Groups like the International Dyslexia Association and the Learning Disabilities Association of America share our interest in supporting the literacy learning of young children, though our methods differ. A briefing paper on the “Early Literacy Matters: Dyslexia, Specific Learning Disabilities and Reading Recovery” offers information for site/district coordinators. This paper provides information for Reading Recovery professionals to begin collaborative conversations with classroom teachers, special educators, other school leaders, and parents in support of struggling readers.

Gabriel (2018) suggests that current dyslexia legislation in many states allows for a range of approaches to meet the needs of dyslexic learners. She further considers it necessary to directly clarify the potential of alternative pedagogy for dyslexic learners.

If educators fail to engage productively within current under- standings of dyslexia, they will be written out of any major role in the public’s understanding of how to identify and address dyslexia. If, instead, educators take up, negotiate, and engage with the specialized vocabulary and current concepts, they may have the opportunity to partner with those who are willing to invest tremendous resources toward the shared goal of every child a reader.” (Gabriel, 2018, p. 33).

Look for more resources on Reading Recovery and Dyslexia in the list below.

How Reading Recovery Helps Your Child Learn
Explains how specially trained teachers build on the child’s strengths and address reading comprehension, phonics-related instruction in reading and writing, literacy processing, and independent problem solving throughout the series of lessons.

A Comparison Study or Reading Recovery and Students with Dyslexia Characteristics
A recent research article was published that explored Reading Recovery with children who had and did not have the characteristics of Dyslexia. This paper will help you better understand how Reading Recovery intervention works with comparison groups.

An Examination of Dyslexia Research and Instruction with Policy Implications
By Peter Johnston and Donna Scanlon of the University of Albany are two scholars who explore such questions as What is dyslexia and the differences between a student who has dyslexia compared to students who struggle reading. Published in the Journal of Reading Recovery in Spring, 2022, this is a helpful article it better understanding the landscape of dyslexia policy and practice.

A special issue of The Journal of Reading Recovery
It includes articles related to dyslexia laws and policies and the power of Reading Recovery and Literacy Lessons for dyslexic learners (see Doyle, 2018; Gabriel, 2018). When defining dyslexia as a specific learning disability, Reading Recovery is an appropriate intervention for first graders identified as dyslexic learners if they are among the lowest achievers and are not receiving another literacy intervention. Reading Recovery and Literacy Lessons teachers offer opportunities for any child struggling with initial reading and writing proficiency and avoid labels that exempt a child from these interventions (Doyle, 2018).

Phonemic Awareness and Phonics in Reading Recovery
This brief resource explains how phonemic and orthographic relationships are incorporated in every individually designed daily lesson.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves: Reading Recovery and the MSV Myth
“Perhaps because of the myth of the three-cueing system, critics have often supposed that visual information is not emphasized or taught in Reading Recovery lessons. This is quite untrue and is supported by nearly four decades of empirical research which show Reading Recovery’s strong effects across all domains, including phonics, phonemic awareness, and comprehension.” – Jeffery Williams

Understanding Dyslexia Laws and Policies
Dr. Rachael Gabriel, University of Connecticut
Spring 2018 article examines dyslexia legislation observed nationally, discusses the dyslexia agenda, and examines its implications for educators for students with reading difficulties.

Communicating the Power of Reading Recovery and Literacy Lessons Instruction for Dyslexic Learners: An Ethical Response
Dr. Mary Anne Doyle, University of Connecticut
Spring 2018 article compares shared perspectives between Reading Recovery and dyslexia-specific programs, and important differences that demonstrate why the one-to-one intervention meets and exceeds the intent of an instructional approach deemed critical for dyslexic learners.

What’s the Fuss About Phonics and Word Study?
Dr. Patricia Scharer, The Ohio State University
Spring 2019 article identifies misunderstandings in literature over time and confirms how Reading Recovery teachers provide instruction in phonemic awareness and word analysis in both reading and writing activities of every lesson.

Early Literacy Matters: Dyslexia, Specific Learning Disabilities, and Reading Recovery
Briefing paper provides information for Reading Recovery professionals to begin conversations with special educators, classroom teachers, school leaders, and parents in support of struggling readers. Illustrated are three aspects of a comprehensive approach to early intervention—early identification of struggling readers, instructional components of intensive intervention, and a response to intervention (RTI) framework.

Response to Farrall’s Article on Wrightslaw Website: A Review of What Research Really Says About Reading Recovery 
This issue paper was written in response to the 2006 attack by Melissa Farrall posted on the Wrightslaw Special Ed Advocate website. Her claims reflect incorrect, misleading, and bias reporting about Reading Recovery; many of the same inaccuracies often perpetuated by critics of the intervention.

Ideology and Early Literacy Evidence: A Response to Chapman & Tunmer (2015)
In response to their political analysis of Reading Recovery and the research that provides evidence of effectiveness, Robert Schwartz addresses new attacks in the authors’ long history of criticisms and counters their argument that Reading Recovery “should be dropped and replaced by a more contemporary, research-based, reading intervention approach, together with more effective literacy instruction in children’s first year of schooling.

Dispelling Misrepresentations and Misconceptions About Reading Recovery
Reading Recovery Council of North America (2012)
White paper written in response to the International Dyslexia Association’s Fall 2011 Perspectives on Language and Literacy publication. All five articles in the themed issue discount various aspects of Reading Recovery. IDA did not provide RRCNA an opportunity to respond to the criticisms.

The Truth About Reading Recovery
2017 response to “The Reading Wars and Reading Recovery: What Educators, Families, and Taxpayers Should Know” by Cook, Rodes, and Lipsitz (2017) in Learning Disabilities journal
RRCNA article examines several of the most damaging false claims made by the authors including misrepresentations of decision-making evidence, misleading conclusions about sustained gains and the i3 report, confusions about selection of students, and erroneous challenges to focus of instruction.

Literacy Scholars’ Letter to PBS
A distinguished group of literacy academics—all are members of the Reading Hall of Fame—express their deep concern with the April 30, 2019 PBS NewsHour’s segment on dyslexia. We share the letter with permission from the primary authors.

Dyslexia: An International Literacy Association Research Advisory
A comprehensive 2016 synthesis of the current understandings of dyslexia, written by the International Literacy Association Research Panel, and an addendum response to the IDA.

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Fall 2023