In this LDA Bulletin article, we summarise arguments and evidence reported in a detailed paper (Tunmer, Chapman, Greaney, Prochnow & Arrow, 2013) showing that New Zealand’s national literacy strategy has failed and particularly the role of Reading Recovery in contributing to that failure.
In response to growing concerns during the 1990s about New Zealand’s relatively “long tail” of literacy underachievement, the government established a Literacy Taskforce to provide recommendations aimed at raising the literacy achievement of all students but with particular attention given to “closing the gap between the lowest and highest students” (Ministry of Education, 1999, p.7). The recommendations of the Taskforce constituted the national literacy strategy for reducing the large disparity in reading achievement outcomes between good and poor readers.
A decade later, concerns were still being expressed about the literacy achievement gap. In December 2011, the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s Briefing to the Incoming Minister following the New Zealand general election (Ministry of Education, 2011) stated that:
“…the gap between our high performing and low performing students remains one of the widest in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). These low performing students are likely to be Mãori or Pasifika and/or from low socio-economic communities. Disparities in education appear early and persist throughout learning” (p.8).
Based on these findings, the Briefing concluded that, “The greatest challenge facing the schooling sector is producing equitable outcomes for students” (p.23). This conclusion can be taken as an admission that the national literacy strategy was failing to reduce the gap.
Much more on Reading Recovery, here.
Via the Wisconsin Coalition on Reading:
Yet another research paper shows the ineffectiveness of Reading Recovery. Reading Recovery and the failure of the New Zealand national literacy strategy, by Tunmer, Chapman, Greaney, Prochnow, and Arrow, was published in November of 2013, and has been getting some more publicity lately. Aside from the Reading Recovery program itself, which is still in use in many schools in our state, Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) is based on the same instructional principles.
Check out this dyslexia PSA produced by students in Oregon.