With a sigh of relief, Souderton area parents recently read The Reporter article, “A Little Extra Help: Reading Recovery Gives Students a Leg Up,” learning that, despite budget cuts, district Reading Recovery specialists will continue working with children in need of their services. They are among the more fortunate, as many Montgomery County school districts no longer offer the program.
But what exactly is Reading Recovery? Identified by their kindergarten teachers, the program serves the lowest-achieving first graders—“the students who are not catching on to the complex set of concepts that make reading and writing possible.” In other words, the children in need of extra reading assistance.
Referred children meet regularly with specially trained teachers for 30 minutes every school day for between 12 to 20 weeks. And it’s very effective—very much so. Fact is, about 75% of participating students go on to meet grade-level expectations in reading and writing during those short three to five months. Says Souderton’s Reading Recovery teacher Lynn Connery-Orcutt, “The process of learning how to read and write is so intricate and complex. To see a child pick it up and make such gains is just very, very exciting.”
Meanwhile, those who continue to struggle are referred for further evaluation and intervention in such programs as Title I or special education. In this way, every child receives the support they need to meet with success.
Another program is making a difference in the reading lives of our children, too, and this one can be found at the Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library, located at 1001 Powell Street in Norristown. Its “Roll Over and Read” program helps improve children’s literacy skills by pairing them up with a dog.
Yes, a dog—one that has been specially trained for reading duty, so to speak, along with a certified animal-assisted therapist. That’s because an animal is neither judgmental nor mocking as a child reads to it, thereby creating a stress-free situation that, in turn, helps build confidence and fluency.
The sessions are held on the third Saturday of every month—next up, June 18th—from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information, call 610-278-5100.
Bottom line: Make the library your go-to destination, putting books front and center this summer and always, regardless of your child’s reading level and proficiency. The Montgomery County library system even offers a Summer Reading Club that ensures books take center stage during these out-of-school months; sign up online at www.mc-npl.org.
After all, as the author Avi reminds us, “You can never read too much,” and Reading Recovery and “Roll Over and Read” help open that door to all.