As Waco ISD continues to improve its students’ reading abilities as a cornerstone of academic success, 14 Waco ISD teachers have earned their certifications as Reading Recovery teachers.
“We selected certified teachers with a record of success in teaching young children,” said Director of Intervention Services/State & Federal Programs Kourtni Parnell. “Reading recovery promotes literacy skills and fosters the development of reading and writing strategies by tailoring individualized lessons to each student based on his or her learning journey.”
WISD Reading Recovery teacher candidates engaged in a full academic year of professional development with graduate credit to earn this additional certification and were observed throughout the year, applying what they learned. Teachers attended weekly training and provided daily individualized reading instruction to students using Reading Recovery methods. Teachers found that the professional development provided them with additional instructional strategies that could be used to the benefit of all students. Reading Recovery teacher candidates were also observed during their training to ensure the integrity of the individualized lessons.
WISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said the success of the program was measured by student achievement growth in reading during the 2022-2023 school year.
“Our Reading Recovery program, now in its third full year of implementation, yielded an average year's worth of growth in reading proficiency for students with just 20 weeks of instruction,” Kincannon said. “Reading and comprehension skills of students in grades 1-5 showed seven months of growth in a single semester for students who were served with the highest level of academic intervention. Of those students, nearly 20 percent made one to two years’ worth of progress in reading proficiency.”
Reading Recovery’s impact on student achievement can also be measured through STAAR scores. 2023 Reading STAAR scores for Waco ISD students in grades 3-12 exceeded pre-pandemic levels across the district. The district’s 5th grade reading scores are at the highest level since 2014.
Reading Recovery certified teachers are required to attend monthly professional development workshops and are observed monthly.