New Zealand: 'Warning against relying on Reading Recovery for struggling readers'

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New Zealand: 'Warning against relying on Reading Recovery for struggling readers'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:20 am

Article about criticism of the Reading Recovery intervention programme in the New Zealand Herald - with reference to, and quotes from, IFERI committee member, Professor James Chapman:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/arti ... d=12039264

Warning against relying on Reading Recovery for struggling readers - ERO

By Natalie Akoorie

Teachers are being warned not to rely on Reading Recovery for struggling young readers because it probably doesn't work, a new report says.

And continuation of the $40 million a year programme, first introduced in New Zealand in the 1980s, should be investigated after it was scrapped in New South Wales late last year.

The Education Review Office's Evaluation at a Glance: A Decade of Assessment in New Zealand Primary Schools - Practice and trends report, highlighted Reading Recovery as an area of our curriculum that needed addressing.

It comes after repeated calls for the literacy programme to be axed in New Zealand and as Kiwi children's reading levels dropped to the lowest on record in 2016, with one expert claiming "we are failing our kids".



Massey University Professor of Education and Psychology, James Chapman, has been lobbying for the end of Reading Recovery for 25 years.

Chapman said New Zealand relied on literacy instruction that was discredited by scientific research 30 years ago.

"It's outdated and our kids are suffering because of that. And every year between 15 and 20 per cent of kids who go into Reading Recovery, are unrecovered. They don't succeed."

Chapman said New Zealand, which had recently been leapfrogged by five other countries including Australia in literacy success, needed to change the way it taught new entrants and Year 1 students how to read.

Children needed much more explicit instruction on how to decode unfamiliar words, and this was about more than just phonics.
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Re: New Zealand: 'Warning against relying on Reading Recovery for struggling readers'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:28 am

Read the blog post about the review of Reading Recovery by IFERI committee members, Professor James Chapman and Professor William Tunmer:

http://www.iferi.org/a-new-paper-by-pro ... -recovery/

A new paper by Professors James W. Chapman and William E. Tunmer on Reading Recovery


Sustainability of Gains Made in Reading Recovery

Considered together, the PIRLS results for 9-year-old children who had received RR in Year 2, the enrolment data for students receiving support from RT:Lits, and the two New Zealand studies on the sustainability of RR outcomes for discontinued children, show that RR simply has not achieved its primary goals in New Zealand. Clay’s avowal that RR would “clear out of the remedial education system all children who do not learn to read” (Clay, 1987, p. 169), and the RR New Zealand’s website claim that RR operates as an “effective prevention strategy against later literacy difficulties” and, therefore, “may be characterised as an insurance against low literacy levels” (http://www.readingrecovery.ac.nz/reading_recovery), are without foundation.

Why Does Reading Recovery Fail to Result in Sustainable Gains?


We have argued elsewhere (Chapman et al., 2015) that the effectiveness of RR interacts with where children are located on the developmental progression from pre-reader to skilled reader. Because of limited knowledge of print at the outset of learning to read, and/or developmental delay in acquiring the phonological awareness skills that are essential for learning to read successfully (e.g., Pressley, 2006; Snow & Juel, 2005; Tunmer, Greaney & Prochnow, 2015), a large proportion of young struggling readers operate at low developmental phases of word learning, which Ehri (2005) described as pre-alphabetic and partial-alphabetic phases. Delayed readers who are still in these phases, typically those students who struggle the most with learning to read, will not be able to grasp the alphabetic principle and discover spelling-to-sound relationships on their own or in a program that emphasizes text rather than word level instructional approaches. These students will require more intensive and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness and phonemically based decoding skills than what is provided in typical RR lessons.


Do read the whole post.
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Re: New Zealand: 'Warning against relying on Reading Recovery for struggling readers'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:32 am

Here is an IFERI thread with much more information about the efficacy of Reading Recovery - including another review of a large-scale Reading Recovery project by Professors Chapman and Tunmer:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=570
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Re: New Zealand: 'Warning against relying on Reading Recovery for struggling readers'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:36 am

About Professor James Chapman and Professor William Tunmer (scroll down the page):

http://www.iferi.org/team-members-profi ... ew-Zealand
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Re: New Zealand: 'Warning against relying on Reading Recovery for struggling readers'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu May 17, 2018 4:58 pm

Rebecca Urban's article in The Australian notes that New Zealand teachers are increasingly getting on board with phonics provision but may still lack the level of professional knowledge that they need to maximise their effectiveness:

THE AUSTRALIAN

By Rebecca Urban
May 17th 2018

New Zealand teachers defy policy with push for phonics

Researchers from New Zealand’s Massey University found that 90 per cent of more than 660 primary school teachers reported employing phonics-style methods in their literacy instruction.

Teachers in New Zealand are defying longstanding education policy on literacy and using phonics programs to teach children how to read, with a vast majority of converts reporting more confident and capable readers as a result.

In a first of its kind study, to be published today in the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, researchers from New Zealand’s Massey University found that 90 per cent of more than 660 primary school teachers reported employing phonics-style methods in their literacy instruction.

And of the teachers surveyed, 84 per cent reported considerable benefits, such as improved reading ability, increased confidence in reading and writing, and a boost to literacy achievement across the classroom as a whole.

The study, which was funded in part by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, could have implications for education policy in Australia, which, like New Zealand, has seen reading proficiency among primary-aged students fall over recent years.

The federal government is currently pushing the states and territories to introduce a mandatory test of phonics skills for Year 1 students in a bid to arrest the decline. Education Minister Simon Birmingham is expected to use upcoming funding negotiations to press his case for the tests.

Massey University professor James Chapman, who led the study, said anecdotal evidence had suggested that, despite New Zealand education policy favouring a whole-language approach to literacy instruction, teachers were increasingly resorting to using varying degrees of phonics. And while the study confirmed this, finding that 68 per cent had embedded it in all literacy lessons, a related survey also found teachers had a mixed understanding of the literacy-related language structures required for effective teaching, meaning for many their ability to teach phonics effectively was constrained.

More than 50 different commercial phonics programs were found to be in use across the public schools surveyed; many of them lacking sound research to support them.
“Teachers know they should be using phonics and they are doing their best,” Professor Chapman said. “The system has been letting them down.”

Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jennifer Buckingham said the study was relevant to Australia, where, although phonics was embedded in the curriculum, how well it was taught varied across the country.

She said many studies had found graduate teachers were emerging from training with a weak knowledge of the structures of the English language, while a large proportion of Australian early primary school teachers were not familiar with basic linguistic concepts.

“That’s one of the aims of the phonics check; to investigate if there is a weakness there and, if so, identify where those weaknesses are,” Dr Buckingham said.
Professor Chapman said Australia’s bid to introduce phonics screening was a “good move”, having worked well in Britain.

He said despite teachers’ best intentions, literacy levels in New Zealand were unlikely to improve unless teachers were given more support to increase their knowledge and skills in literacy instruction.

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