Reading Recovery differs from most interventions by using highly effective and intensive instructional practices. Rather than follow a prescribed sequence of content, Reading Recovery Teachers identify what the child knows and can use to guide the course of the lessons. Their decisions are based on expert knowledge about the essential components of early literacy learning.
Schools often measure students’ literacy progress with tests. In a literacy processing view of progress, however, progress is measured when we study how children work on texts as they read and write. Reading Recovery focuses on daily changes in literacy behaviors. Teachers’ close observational records reveal each child’s movement toward an effective literacy processing system at any stage of progress, responding to the question “What operations does he carry out and what kinds of operations has he neglected to use?” (Clay, 2015a, p. 313). Teaching sessions behind the one-way glass (with the coaching of the teacher leader and the discussion with peers) assist Reading Recovery teachers with the process of measuring student performance across time with fidelity.
Using the powerful relationship between reading and writing, children actively read and write stories while working on the details of letters and sounds in context. Expert teachers focus their attention on what the child is attending to and using to problem solve new learning. No time is wasted on teaching what a child already knows.