Nova Scotia cuts Reading Recovery program

This September the Nova Scotia Government will cut Reading Recovery, an early intervention reading program that provides one-on-one support for struggling Grade 1 students.

The new program expands reading support to help students from Grades 1 through to Grade 3.

Joy Blenman

The Reading Room at École LeMarchant St. Thomas School organizes books according to reading skills (Photo by Joy Blenman).

This September the Nova Scotia Government will cut Reading Recovery, an early reading program that provides one-on-one support for struggling Grade 1 students.

A replacement program would expand reading support to help students from  Grades 1- 3. In addition Nova Scotia’s new reading program will cut costs  from $ 7- to $5-million per year.

The Nova Scotia Government stresses  the new program will be much more cost-efficient because it eliminates the training costs and fees associated with Reading Recovery, which is an internationally trademarked program that the Nova Scotia government pays to license.

Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to implement Reading Recovery province-wide.  Since 2006, more than 750 Grade 1 students each year have completed the program in either English or French.

According to Doug Hadley, Coordinator of Communication Services for the Halifax Regional School Board, approximately 60 per cent of the students who participated in Reading Recovery met standards for their grade level and needed no further literacy support when they left the program.

Hadley refrained from commenting on the government’s move to stop Reading Recovery, but agrees that key benefits provided by one-on-one support will be lost when the pullout support program is cut.

“One of the main benefits of providing one-on-one support is that the teacher is able to identify the student’s strengths, and then work from these strengths. A student’s progress is accelerated because they receive daily support and they are continually moving forward with their progress as a reader,” says Hadley.

Specific details on the new program have not yet been released, but the government says there will be a shift from one-on-one support for struggling children to group support within the classroom. This group support will be overseen by reading specialists.

External links
The Government’s statement on cutting Reading Recovery
More on Reading Recovery
Halifax Regional School Board

At École LeMarchant St. Thomas School, a Reading Recovery certified teacher works with two kids a day to improve their reading skills.

Pauline Murray, the principal of École LeMarchant St.Thomas School, is a firm believer of the benefits of the one-on-one help provided in Reading Recovery.

Murray is still awaiting details of the new reading program but is weary of how cutting one-on-one support will help struggling readers.

“Literary coaches collaborate with specific skills that will benefit kids. In terms of benefiting children who are really struggling, it won’t be as effective because it is much more general,” says Murray.