The Theory of Literacy Processing
Reading Recovery is based on Marie Clay’s theory of literacy processing — a theory of assembling a complex network of systems for reading and writing continuous text. This network includes the integration of perceptual, cognitive, and linguistic information sources, and the ways in which they assemble and reassemble depending on the demands of the task.
“Clay’s complex theory posits that many parts of the brain work together to utilize information of many kinds: phonological, syntactic, visual, perceptual, symbolic, orthographic, motoric, affective, conceptual, etc., with interconnections among all.” (Jones, 2006, p. 60)
“In every lesson, the goal is to help each child build an effective literacy processing system in which they independently monitor their own reading; search for information using meaning, language structure, and visual information in print; notice their errors; take unprompted action to correct those errors; and problem-solve flexibly (Clay, 2015; Doyle, 2019; Konstantellou & Lose, 2016). As the child engages in this range of strategic actions over time, their processing systems become stronger and more efficient, enabling them to read increasingly complex texts with fluency, accuracy, and a focus on meaning.” (Lose, 2020, p. 5)
[Reading Recovery’s] “complex theory of literacy learning supports the view that there are many parts of literacy processing which can be difficult for children. Different children have different strengths and weaknesses, and there may be many causes of difficulty varying from child to child.” (Clay, 2015b, pp. 300–301)
A range of teaching procedures, therefore, are needed to help support the development of each child’s strategic control of literacy processing (Askew, 2018; Doyle, 2015, 2019). This calls for teacher knowledge and expertise in order to change the trajectory of learning from slow, or ineffective processing to fast, efficient parallel processing.
To learn more about how literacy processing theory are integrated throughout Reading Recovery, please see the Principles of Reading Recovery.
THEORY OF LITERACY PROCESSING
The theory involves:
THE JOURNAL OF READING RECOVERY
Why Phonics (in English) is Difficult to Teach, Lean, and Apply: What Caregivers and Teachers Need to Know
David Reinking and Sharon L. Reinking
Reflecting On Our Practices When the Child Has a Limited Repertoire
Janiece Elzy and Tracee Farmer
Why a Teacher’s Beliefs Matter: Using a Theory of Learning to Explore Instructional Decisions
Debra Crouch and Brian Cambourne
Concepts About Print and Early Reading Behaviors: Considerations When Using eBooks
C.C. Bates, Adria Klein, and Barbara Schubert
Why Reading Recovery Is The Way It Is
Marie M. Clay