Shippensburg hosts regional Reading Recovery Conference

Approximately 125 teachers from across the Mid-Atlantic region were at Shippensburg University this week for the 21st Reading Recovery Conference. The one-day event was to increase professional development for Reading Recovery and early literacy educators.

Reading Recovery is a short-term intervention for first-graders having extreme difficulty with early reading and writing. Shippensburg University, one of 23 university training sites in the United States, offers training to school districts in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

According to Dr. Janet Bufalino, Shippensburg University associate professor of teacher education and Reading Recovery trainer, “Each teacher works with a student 30 minutes a day for a maximum of 20 weeks. Teachers are assigned two and a half hours a day to teach at-risk first grade students in their district.”

During each child’s series of lessons, a teacher designs an individual program to enable the child to learn more and more about reading and writing each day. “Approximately 80 percent of the children who receive 20 weeks of instruction reach the average of their classmates,” said Bufalino.

Keynote speakers were Dr. Barbara Watson from Auckland, New Zealand and Bufalino.

In 2011, Shippensburg received a $1.8 million federal grant to expand the Reading Recovery program in the Mid-Atlantic region over four years. To date, 125 Reading Recovery teachers have been trained through this grant and have helped more than 1,000 at-risk first grade children become proficient in reading and writing.

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