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Investment in Reading Recovery Returns Dividends for Young Students

The lesson begins with a “warm up” for Alice, an Omaha Public Schools first grader. She sits side-by-side with her teacher as they read a familiar book. As Alice reads, the teacher makes note of any challenging words. Those words then become the focus for the rest of the lesson.

The process is one element of Omaha Public Schools' new Reading Recovery Program. The program launched this year to help students jumpstart reading and writing skills.

“Right now, our Reading Recovery teachers are at Belvedere, Fontenelle and Minne Lusa Elementary,” said Miki Holbeck, coordinator of early literacy. “We’re a few months into the program now and we’re looking forward to being able to serve many more students in the future.”

Six teachers are now trained for the Reading Recovery Program. By the end of this school year, they will have provided reading recovery lessons to 76 first graders.

“The goal of Reading Recovery is to help our students develop effective reading and writing skills for their grade level, and to prepare them to expand on those skills,” said Holbeck.

District staff identified students for the program based on year-end kindergarten assessments. Students meet with their teacher one-on-one for 30-minute lessons each day.

“This year, Alice has built confidence in her ability to read and learn,” shared Angie, Alice’s mother. “She’s so proud when she reads to us at home. I’d recommend Reading Recovery as a fun way for kids to learn to read and build confidence.”

The one-on-one lessons also help teachers build a relationship with each student.

“It lets teachers tailor their lessons to fit the needs of each student and grow the student’s involvement and interest in each lesson,” Holbeck added.

Participants are already benefiting from the individualized support.

“We are proud of Alice and thankful for the program and the teachers who are helping us,” Angie continued. “Alice has really enjoyed the program and the one-on-one attention has been super successful at helping her reach her goals.”

For more information on the program, watch the presentation to the Omaha Public Schools Board of Education on Oct. 18.