Reading Recovery opens Blake’s eyes to literacy world

October 25, 2022
Six-year-old Blake has experienced a significant shift forward thanks to Reading Recovery intervention.

When Blake Pellow started falling behind in Year 2 at Bombay School, Reading Recovery intervention got him back on track. 

Assistant Principal Kim Batters says Blake lost confidence in his reading to the point where he felt “dumb” and refused to try because of his fear of failure.

“He was very anxious when it came to participating in any literacy work,” she says. 

Concerned about his progress, Blake’s whānau were eager to get him the help he needed.

At Bombay School, children are monitored from ages 5 ½ to 6 so those who need extra help can be identified quickly and offered Reading Recovery intervention after consultation with the leadership team and classroom kaiako. 

The identifying process involves observation and assessment where kaiako can discover the child’s knowledge and abilities to process their reading and writing. If an individual intervention is recommended, the trained Reading Recovery teacher will plan sessions with activities specially curated to meet the needs of the individual student. 

 

Blake’s mother, Erin, is thrilled to see a shift in his confidence as he’s moved through the Reading Recovery intervention.

“My son now has the confidence to be more involved in schooling and social activities.”

Confidence and self-esteem

Blake’s low confidence in his reading led to struggles with school and learning as a whole.

Erin says there were often tears in the morning and a resistance to go to school, fearing he couldn’t cope with what was required. It was becoming stressful for everyone - especially Blake.

Witnessing other students progressing towards writing complete sentences was also causing him frustration as he didn’t share the same level of confidence in writing. 

When Reading Recovery was offered as an intervention to help him advance, the Pellow family jumped at the chance. Blake is now reading confidently. 

“He is also more aware of what he is reading and will stop himself and say ‘does this make sense?’ and he’s now writing sentences with all the new vocabulary he has learned,” says Erin. 

The Pellows family credit Kim’s expertise as a trained Reading Recovery teacher for Blake’s success. 

“Kim is an amazing teacher and has been an absolute godsend. Blake has come so far and thoroughly enjoyed his Reading Recovery journey.”

A surprising change

Erin was surprised by how much the intervention had improved life for Blake, noting his positive change in attitude towards school.

“I never realised the importance of Reading Recovery until Blake was involved with it, but now I can see how it helps children both academically and socially.”

As the Reading Recovery intervention has been so successful for the Pellows family, Erin was saddened to realise that it’s not available at all schools.

“I assumed this was something every school offered but, after talking to parents at other schools, I realised it wasn’t. I wish every school could offer Reading Recovery as it is so important!” 

New approach 

The Reading Recovery & Early Literacy Support Intervention is now available in schools around New Zealand and is seeing children like Blake accelerate with impressive results.

More than 340 primary schools are registered to take part in the new framework as it rolls out. 

The refresh enables Reading Recovery teachers to not only provide personalised support to an individual child, but to extend their expertise to support classroom teachers in small group settings, reaching more children. 

The new model operates as a part of a three-tiered approach; Tier 1 being high-quality classroom programmes, Tier 2 being support for small groups, and Tier 3 being support for individuals.

At each Tier, the instruction is increasingly tailored to children’s learning. Each Tier requires more intensive teacher expertise and professional learning.

In Tier 3, children like Blake are offered a 30-minute individual session with a trained Reading Recovery teacher every school day, which is shifted throughout the week so the child can always stay up to date with participation in other work areas. 

Whānau are encouraged to attend sessions so learning can extend into the home. 

At Bombay School, four students are on the Reading Recovery roster at one time.

 

Kim says Blake is like a different child since completing Reading Recovery.

“He is enjoying learning more and is so confident now. His belief in his abilities has grown immensely, and he has become more independent and successful in learning.”

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