Reading Recovery revisited

Readers defend literacy program

Editor's Note: The spring 2001 issue of Michigan Education Report included a commentary critical of Reading Recovery, a program used in many Michigan public schools to assist students who struggle with reading. ("Reading Recovery is no such thing," viewable at The commentary drew a considerable response from our readers, much of which offered praise for Reading Recovery.

Michigan Education Report does not take a position on which reading program is best for children. Because children's learning needs are unique, parents and teachers must have choices in educational approaches and not be limited to any one reading instruction program. Therefore, we would like to share a number of the responses we received in response to the criticism of Reading Recovery. Reponses are published as received, but names have been removed to protect the identity of the children. Also, below you will find links to various web sites that provide information and research on different methods of reading instruction.

Michigan Education Report welcomes feedback from our readers. To respond to this topic or any issue related to K-12 education in Michigan, please drop us a note at or write to us at the address listed below.

"[Reading Recovery] is a tremendous program. It has brought my child from not being able to read books or letters to being able to read."

"My child loves to read. She is always walking around with a book in her nose. This is all due to the Reading Recovery program that she was in."

"It's a shame that Ms. Chahbazi would attack such a worthwhile program when she is so misinformed about Reading Recovery instruction. She states that phonemic awareness is largely absent from the Reading Recovery lesson. Actually, it is imbedded throughout the lesson along with several other components that encourage children to become independent learners.

"Schools, educators, and methodologies are under intense public scrutiny, as well as they should be. However, when children who would otherwise be labeled or retained are transformed into eager and confident students, then the responsible program deserves our applause and support.


Barbara Zarow
Reading Recovery Teacher
Rawsonville Elementary
Ypsilanti, Michigan

Dear Mrs. Zarow,

I just wanted to thank you for the progress you made with my child. He has done such a turn around on writing & reading. He really enjoyed you as a teacher.

Thanks again and have a great summer.

Ms. Taylor

Dear Mrs. Zarow,

I would like to thank you for all the reading support you have given my child this school year. It is amazing how I have watched him become a confident reader with the will and desire to want to read. I have spent long hours at home myself trying to help him with this important skill, and together, parent/teacher, the foundation of academics were built.

I am truly grateful for this wonderful program, each day I could see him slowly make progress soon he became excited about reading I could see, and hear, great progress. I see a need to have such programs available to all children in public schools. As he continues to grow and learn, we will continue to use the skills he has learned.

Thank you,
Debbie P.

Links to reading research

Educational Resources
Information Center -
Reading Resources

International Reading Association

Read America

Reading Recovery

Reading Is Fundamental

Reading Online

World of Reading

Professor Prep

National Reading Panel

Reading Rainbow

National Institute for Literacy

Literacy Center

Michigan Education Report
140 West Main Street
P.O. Box 568
Midland, Michigan 48640