Another flawed Reading Recovery study to add to the pack

Filling the pail

Few educational interventions have generated as many studies as Reading Recovery.

Reading Recovery involves giving struggling readers one-to-one tuition. I have no doubt that it has an effect, as any one-to-one intervention would have an effect. Some people claim that no other intervention has as much evidence of effectiveness at scale. That may be true, but that is likely to be because no other intervention has been tested so much at scale.

When I suggest that it has an effect, I need to be careful about what I mean. Most studies compare Reading Recovery to doing nothing and the students in the ‘do nothing’ control group have usually had a diet of so-called ‘balanced literacy‘ – the whole-language wolf hiding in the Grandma’s bed of phonics. I have written before that we can’t be sure why Reading Recovery works. It could be the proprietary techniques taught to Reading…

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