READING RECOVERY CHILDREN AND EARLY LITERACY DEVELOPMENT: INVESTIGATION INTO PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS, ORTHOGRAPHIC KNOWLEDGE, ORAL READING PROCESSING, AND READING COMPREHENSION PROCESSING
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Marie Clay (1993) designed Reading Recovery tutoring to accelerate the early literacy development of low-performing, six-year-old children so that they achieve average levels of classroom performance. Approximately one third of the proportion of the first cohort of U.S. children who receive Reading Recovery tutoring at the beginning of a school year respond poorly to it (Gómez-Bellengé, Rodgers, & Fullerton, 2003). They fail to meet the criteria for successful performance and their Reading Recovery teachers recommend them for additional assessment and/or consideration for other supplemental instruction. An emerging program of research suggests that recommended children struggle in early literacy development. This study compared recommended to discontinued Reading Recovery children on phonological awareness and orthographic knowledge at pre- and post-tutoring, and oral reading processing and reading comprehension processing at post-tutoring. The sample consisted of 29 recommended children and 26 discontinued children who were taught by 16 trained Reading Recovery teachers in a single school district. This study contributes to the understanding of recommended children's early literacy development. Analysis of phonological awareness and orthographic knowledge composite data revealed that recommended children demonstrated less overall phonological awareness and overall orthographic knowledge than discontinued children and that recommended and discontinued children combined displayed gains from pre- to post-tutoring at statistically significant levels. Analyses of the phonological awareness composite data revealed that recommended children performed at a level below discontinued children on rhyme awareness at pre-tutoring, phonological skeletal structure awareness at pre- and post-tutoring, and graphophonemic awareness with respect to beginning phonemes at pre- and post-tutoring and ending phonemes at pre-tutoring at statistically significant levels. Analyses of the orthographic knowledge composite data revealed that recommended children performed at a level below discontinued children on orthographic acceptability knowledge at pre- tutoring and spelling knowledge at post-tutoring at statistically significant levels. Analyses of oral reading processing data at post-tutoring revealed that recommended children read stories with less accuracy, more overall errors, more substitutions, less fluency, and at a slower rate than discontinued children at statistically significant levels. An analysis of reading comprehension processing data at post-tutoring revealed that the two groups comprehended the stories nearly equivalently.