New IEE report makes RR 'top rated programme'

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Susan Godsland
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New IEE report makes RR 'top rated programme'

Post by Susan Godsland » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:10 pm

Unbelievable!

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6021542
Britain's Reading Recovery initiative is one of the world's best programmes for struggling readers, an international study has found.

The finding is a boost for the literacy scheme, which is at the heart of the government's Every Child A Reader programme yet has been criticised by some academics who question its value for money.

The report, published by the University of York's Institute of Effective Education this month, concluded that Reading Recovery, which involves specially trained teachers working one-to-one with pupils using a mix of methods, is one of three for which there is strong evidence of effectiveness.

It adds that the effect is most obvious in recent studies, which use an updated version of the programme in which more phonics teaching has been introduced.

Professor Robert Slavin, director of the institute, said: "The two UK studies on Reading Recovery are very positive, but the US studies done in the 1980s and 1990s are not. The earlier Reading Recovery programme had very little phonics."

The team from York University and John Hopkins University, Baltimore, looked through 96 evaluations of reading programmes.

Professor Slavin, who also founded the Success for All reading programme, added: "People have the idea that if you do something fabulous in Year 1 then they are set up for life. But if you are cooking a stew and you turn it on at a very low temperature it will never cook. And if you turn it on a very high temperature all the time, it won't cook either. You need to get it to the boil and then simmer it."
UK RR (ECaC) reported recently that it had 'developed a 'culmulative' approach to phonics' (Rose Dyslexia Report 2009 p66) Interpret that how you like, but recent observations of Reading Recovery tuition and online videos of RR lessons show no evidence whatsoever that RR contains more phonics of any ilk than previously.

The report summary: http://www.bestevidence.org.uk/reviews/ ... index.html

Full report: http://www.bestevidence.org.uk/assets/W ... eaders.pdf

Is this a joke?
The best rated programme, alongside RR and something called 'Quick Reads', is Slavin's own Success for All!!
http://www.bestevidence.org.uk/reviews/ ... rated.html

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palisadesk
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Re: New IEE report makes RR 'top rated programme'

Post by palisadesk » Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:37 pm

Susan Godsland wrote:The best rated programme, alongside RR and something called 'Quick Reads', is Slavin's own Success for All!!
There was a discussion on another forum I participate in re "Success for All." SFA has much in common with Reading Recovery. It is very much a "mixed methods" approach; it was designed by people without much background in, or knowledge of, learning science or reading research and effective practice; it uses similar measurement techniques to make its results appear better than they are.

I'll paste in what I sent to the other group:

There have been some very critical analyses of "Success for All" by Richard Venezky, Stanley Pogrow, Herb Walberg and others. There is very little independent research into SFA (most of it is in-house research, very similar to Reading Recovery research) and while SFA students perform slightly better than those in comparison schools, they do not do at all well when compared to national norms. IIRC, a consistent finding is that there is little significant improvement after first grade, and by fifth grade SFA students are 2-3 years behind. Students who start out at average levels or above show negative effects (i.e., they do worse than could be expected).

If your district subscribes to these journals through EBSCO, or if you have access to a university library, you may be able to access the following:

Jones, E. M., Gottfredson, G. D., & Gottfredson, D. C. (1997). Success for some: An evaluation of a Success for All program. Evaluation Review, 21 (6), 643-670.

Pogrow, S. (2000). “The unsubstantiated ‘success’ of Success for All,” Phi Delta Kappan 9(4), 596-600

Ross, S. M. & Smith, L. J. (1994). Effects of the Success for All model on kindergarten through second-grade reading achievement, teachers' adjustment and classroom-school climate at an inner-city school. Elementary School Journal, 95, 121-138.

Venezky, R. L. (1998). An alternative perspective on success for all. In K. K. Wong, (Ed.), Advances in Educational Policy, Vol. 4 (pp. 145-165). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Walberg, H. J. & Greenberg, R. C. (1998, April 8). The Diogenes effect. Education Week, p. 60.

Walberg, H. J. & Greenberg, R. C. (1999). “Educators should require evidence,” Phi Delta Kappan, 8 (2), 132-135.

Jay Mathews wrote a trenchant analysis in the Washington Post a couple of years ago but I can't find it on the WaPo website. I think it was also entitled "Success for Some."

There were many more links available on the Web when I first looked into SFA. I found many of them here:

http://web.archive.org/web/200210041156 ... pers.shtml

What luck -- most of the links to the research reports on this page actually work. Pogrow's and Walberg's articles are here. I had forgotten about the Miami evaluations, which are also of interest.

Slavin's program is extremely expensive and its "effectiveness" data, like Reading Recovery "effectiveness" data, is based on subjective evaluations, short timelines and comparison with low-performing schools doing nothing, rather than with proven effective programs or with national norms. Another factor Slavin, RR, and Fountas and Pinnell have in common is excellent marketing.

Susan S.

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Post by g.carter » Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:54 am

I have been googling to try to find some information about the trials carried out by the Institute of Effective Education. The TES article mentions that it was published this month. Has anyone seen the report or has anyone information on how the trials were conducted?

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Post by Hammered » Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:45 am

Reading the report above it doesn't sound overly positive towards RR, they obviously know something about the new RR that everyone else doesn't considering their comments about previous reports:

'The importance of phonics
Across all categories, almost all successful programmes have a strong emphasis on phonics. One-to-one tutoring programmes in which teachers were the tutors had a much more positive weighted mean effect size (+0.69 in 9 studies) if they had a strong phonetic emphasis. One-to-one tutoring programmes with less of an emphasis on phonics, specifically Reading Recovery and TEACH, had a weighted mean effect size of +0.23 (NB Reading Recovery now has more of an emphasis on phonics).'

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Post by maizie » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:02 am

Hammered wrote:(NB Reading Recovery now has more of an emphasis on phonics).'
HA!!

If you watch the TTV video I flagged up on the 'Every Child a...' thread, it seems as though their increased emphasis on 'phonics' is more in (inappropriate) use of the 'vocabulary' (note the RR teacher desperately trying to remember to get 'decode' into everything she says) while the practice appears unchanged! As Debbie points out on that thread, a phonics taught child, when asked how they knew that 'a t' says 'at' would say, 'Because it is /a/, /t/.' (While, I'm sure, thinking 'What a bl***y stupid question'!) Not, 'Because it starts with /ai/.'

I was intrigued by that - very clever being able to tell what the word is by its first letter. What if the second letter had been 's' or 'n'?

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:11 am

And very telling was the teacher's actual response to the pupil - she did not appear to have any training in the need for sounding out and blending as an automatic 'reading the words' skill.

What 'we' have is the experience with teenies in reception classes - ALL of whom can automatically sound out and blend words like 'at' and longer despite their gender, maturity, background and learning difficulties.

I simply don't believe that schools which entertain having a resident Reading Recovery teacher are schools which ALSO provide good synthetic phonics teaching. It's a contradiction at the very heart of reading instruction.

So, what I'm suggesting, is the 'evidence' for prior teaching in RR schools is at the level of what I have just written. NO true synthetic phonics school would consider RR for a reading intervention - they would consider perhaps some one to one or small group extra time and revision of synthetic phonics teaching.

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Post by JIM CURRAN » Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:23 pm

What Professor Slavin seems to be saying is that a long time ago Reading Recovery used multi- cueing strategies where phonics was usually only used as a last resort. Now it uses multi- cueing strategies where phonics is used as a first resort but if it doesn’t work it’s ok to use the other strategies, semantic, syntactic, picture, context cues which are all just ways of guessing.

This is just a madness and shows a total lack of understanding of how children learn to read. If children have a choice between guessing or sounding out they will always go for guessing and once guessing becomes their reflex it becomes extremely difficult to change it.

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Aug 29, 2009 9:46 pm

Now it uses multi- cueing strategies where phonics is used as a first resort but if it doesn’t work it’s ok to use the other strategies, semantic, syntactic, picture, context cues which are all just ways of guessing.
Jim - this is quite a thoughtful interpretation of what could have changed - but I doubt it very much.

I rather suspect that it is business as usual and, at very best, sounding out and blending is just one of many strategies - and not a 'first resort' at all.
Last edited by Debbie Hepplewhite on Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by g.carter » Sat Aug 29, 2009 9:52 pm

I've had a stab at reading the report but ADD quickly took hold. Is there any mention in the 200 + page report of:
Reading Recovery groups with
Control groups - receiving unadulterated synthetic phonics tuition one-to-one for the same amount of time as the Reading Recovery groups?
This is surely the bottom line - without such information 'comparisons' are meaningless.
If anyone has the information I'd be grateful.

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Post by yvonne meyer » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:14 pm

There is a long history behind Success for All. My understanding is that the beginning reading component of SFA is in fact identical to the DISTAR (forerunner of SRA/Direct Instruction) beginning reading program.

Success for All and SRA/DI became commercial competitors.

Then the US government allocated Reading First money for evidence based reading programs.

This Baltimore Sun article, 2006, "Four years ago, a nonprofit education firm called Success for All occupied four floors in a Towson office building and employed 500 people. Hundreds of schools across the country were signing up to use its highly regarded reading curriculum, which stresses phonics.

Today, Success for All has laid off two-thirds of its employees and shrunk to two floors."

The two organisations which were losing out on Reading First money were Reading Recovery TM (trademarked) and Success for All.

Robert Slavin believed that the reason that Reading First money was not going to SFA was because the Director, Chris Doherty, supported SRA/Direct Instruction even though DI was also missing out on Reading First funds.

SFA's support for Reading Recovery started when both organisations jointly attacked Reading First and DI.

Perhaps the enemy of my enemy is my friend :?:

Another point about Reading Recovery TM and its 'new, improved' phonics-friendly marketing is that the reason the program was trademarked was to prevent any changes to the original program in which phonics is stressed as being 'Last and Least'.

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Post by maizie » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:25 pm

Another point about Reading Recovery TM and its 'new, improved' phonics-friendly marketing is that the reason the program was trademarked was to prevent any changes to the original program in which phonics is stressed as being 'Last and Least'.
I'm sorry, Yvonne, but a trademark doesn't mean that the content is unchangeable. It just means that the name cannot be used by any other organisation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark

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Post by palisadesk » Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:54 am

yvonne meyer wrote:There is a long history behind Success for All. My understanding is that the beginning reading component of SFA is in fact identical to the DISTAR (forerunner of SRA/Direct Instruction) beginning reading program.

Success for All goes back a long way (not as far back as DISTAR or DI) but it is not at all like DISTAR. The beginning reading component does use decodable stories, and teaches phonics skills directly but it is very much a "mixed methods" approach. I think the idea that SFA and DI are similar comes from the fact that both are decribed as "scripted."

Whereas DI programs really are scripted -- the wording and teacher presentation, responses, correction procedures and so on are clearly spelled out -- SFA and other programs with "scripts" (including some Balanced Literacy programs like Lucy Calkins' writing programs and some basals like Open Court) are more properly described as "semi-scripted." The lessons are clearly laid out, and suggested wording is included, but there is no expectation that the teacher will follow these to the letter, or practice the script and the delivery the way an actor would do. The difference is similar to that between an actor delivering a dialogue from Macbeth versus one improvising a scene with specific features. Both have an imposed structure, but the first has the exact words spelled out.

DI and SFA are possibly also confused because both can be used as "whole school reform" models. Indeed, SFA markets itself exclusively in this area, and the whole school must adopt SFA; DI programs exist for mathematics, reading and written language, composition, oral language, verbal reasoning, composition, cursive writing, algebra, English for second language learners, and much more, and schools can simply purchase and implement the ones they need or want. Very few schools adopt a whole-school DI model and those that do usually do so through a provider like JP Associates which supplies the coaching, community liaison, supplementary materials and so forth.

SFA has always been dependent on funding sources like Title 1 (for low income schools) or other federal financing. Because it is so expensive, it cannot be sustained on the normal school budget. Although there is some DI marketing in the whole-school-reform arena, it is minor. SFA is not a contender at the classroom level or single-subject level, or for remedial tutoring, special education or home use, all of which areas are niches where DI is strong. So they are not in major competition with each other.

Robert Slavin, like Fountas and Pinnell, has always shown a gift for self-promotion and marketing. Also like Fountas and Pinnell, his results are less than impressive, and the research behind the program is of dubious rigor.

Susan S.

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Post by yvonne meyer » Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:27 am

Maizie,

The specific purpose of the RR Group obtaining the trademark was to prevent changes. Their strategy has always been to claim, "Of course we teach phonics' while adhering to the Whole Language that written language is natural and does not require formal instruction.

My point was that while RR may claim that they changed and that they now include 'phonics', nothing has in fact changed, phonics is deemed to be the 'Last & Least' strategy and RR teachers are given no information about how to teach synthetic phonics.

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Post by yvonne meyer » Sun Aug 30, 2009 4:23 am

Susan,

I was told (verbally) by a reading researcher that Slavin was given the DISTAR research data which he used to develop SFA. I have a quick look to see if I can validate this from other sources and all I've come up with so far is the following;

"... Building on WorldLab's (Slavin's previous program) cooperative learning, they (Slavin & Madden) borrowed from the best research..."

Success for Some
Critics of a controversial method for teaching poor children claim its benefits are overrated. The question is, what's the alternative?
By Jay Mathews
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 21, 2002

My point about the commercial rivalry is that regardless of what we all think about the relative merits of the program, Slavin appears to have taken the view that the appointment of Chris Doherty meant that Reading First funds were directed away from SFA and towards SRA/DI. Slavin's support for Reading Recovery appears to be the result of his attack on Reading First and DI.

Prior to Reading First, Slavin was a critic of Reading Recovery, for example, his research found that all of the RR students who were not discontinued in the second Ohio cohort were reading below average class level in the third grade (Wasik and Slavin, 1993).

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Post by JIM CURRAN » Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:43 am

The Reading Recovery™ Council states, “During lessons, teachers attend to letters, sounds, and words and incorporate learning about letter-sound relationships during the reading and writing of extended text and as explicit, direct instruction”, yet in an review of the 176 papers presented at the 2007 and 2008 national conferences years, only four (2%) obliquely tackled phonics, citing (as is seemingly obligatory at RR conferences) Clay’s words. Beginning readers, according to Clay, "need to use their knowledge of how the world works; the possible meanings of the text; the sentence structure; the importance of order of ideas, or words, or of letters; the size of words or letters; special features of sound, shape, and layout; and special knowledge from past literary experiences before they resort to left to right sounding out of chunks or letter clusters or, in the last resort, single letters" [emphasis added] (p. 9). (Note similarity to Smith.)





Unequivocally, the research (Adams, Stanovich, Pressley, Tunmer, Chapman, et al) proves, that letter-sound cues are more important than semantic or syntactic cues and that reliance on the latter is a “disastrous strategy” for beginning readers.

http://web.me.com/viccharlton/Reading_a ... overy.html

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