Chapter 11 - But what if you start late?

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But what if you start late?

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106 pupils averaged eight months' progress in six weeks.24
  In several schools in Scotland, the Robinson method was used to help fifteen 11-to-13-year-olds diagnosed as having very low I.Q.s: between 40 and 70. They were taken for 45 to 50 minutes a day for just under six weeks, and made ten months' reading improvement.25
  At the Fairbank Memorial Junior School in Toronto, Canada, a mid-city multi-racial school with a large proportion of youngsters learning English as a second language, after 20 minutes twice a day for only ten days, progress for children in grades 2 through 6 ranged from just under five and a half months to one year.26
  As D.B. Routley, principal of the C.E. Webster Junior Public School in Toronto, wrote after seeing the results at his school: "During my 24 years in the field of education, I have never seen an in-service program for teachers that has produced such a positive impact on students as the program designed by Mr. Robinson."27

New Zealand's Reading Recovery program
 
  All those five latter programs can be operated by normal classroom teachers. But the best-known New Zealand catch-up program is organized by teachers who need to be specially trained. It is known as Reading Recovery, first developed by Professor Marie Clay of the University of Auckland.
  In New Zealand, while the official age for starting school is six, nearly every child starts at five. By six, many children with reading difficulties are identified in the Reading Recovery program, and helped for half an hour each day by a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher. Reading Recovery has been operating as a government-funded program throughout New Zealand since 1984. On average, youngsters catch up within 16 weeks. About 97 percent maintain and improve their ability as they proceed through school.
  The program has been taken up in some parts of America, Britain and Australia. An official British educational report on the New Zealand scheme gives it high praise - but stresses two additional points:
  1. Literacy is accorded a "supremely important" place in the New Zealand education system, so "it can be no surprise that the target group of clients for Reading Recovery was identified and a program devised for their aid."
  2. "It is already clear that the New Zealand system is well on the way

 

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