What does a Reading Recovery Lesson Look Like?

  • Familiar re-reading

    Each lesson begins with something easy--reading known books. This is a time to enjoy stories and celebrate what the student already knows how to do. Your child will read 1-3 familiar books.  This gives your child the chance to practice reading fluently.  Beginning readers sometimes read word-by-word; however, children need to work toward making their reading sound natural like talking, or they will not be able to understand what they read. Also, it is a time for your child to practice using some new reading strategies. The teacher does not jump in quickly to correct the child, but allows the child to use what he/she knows to be an independent reader. 

    Running record

    Your child will read the book which was introduced and read once at the end of the previous day’s lesson. The teacher will be observing and recording the child’s reading, noting errors and self-corrections.  The teacher will watch to see how the child solves the tricky parts of the text and only tell words if the child is really struggling.

    At the end of the reading, the teacher will quickly make 1 or 2 teaching points based on what she saw the child do. This most often includes a praise point for what the child did very well and then a teaching point to show the child where he/she needs to pay close attention.  The teacher and child will go back to a page to look at how a problem was solved or to find a hard part to work out together.

    Sometimes the teacher ignores some of the student’s errors. It is most effective to limit the number of teaching points so your child does not feel overwhelmed and unsuccessful. Students will have other opportunities to read the text and work out more of the tricky parts in other lessons.

    Magnetic letter work

    The purpose of this part of the lesson is to help your child understand how letters and words work. The focus will change over time. In early lessons, the child may search for specific letters within a jumble of letters. (“Find all the ‘b’s’! “ or “Put the uppercase and lowercase letter pairs together.”) Your child will work to control a consistent left-to-right orientation to letters and across words. Later your child will use the magnetic letters to break apart known words into familiar parts. Understanding how words can be taken apart and how the parts in one word look and sound like parts in other words, helps students use what they know to solve new words in reading and writing.  (i.e.. If I know "look" then I can read and write "shook".)


    The student will compose a sentence or two, often using the running record book as a springboard. The teacher and student work on writing together. There may be opportunities for any of the following:

    Work on letter formation

    Fast writing of high frequency words

    Use of sound or letter boxes to work out the spelling of new words

    Use of known words to help write new ones (can/man).

    The teacher will encourage the child to check on his/her work and develop independence in the different aspects of the writing process.

    Cut-up sentence

    After the child has written a short story, the teacher will copy a sentence on to a strip of paper and cut it up for the child to put back together. This activity helps a child pay attention to the order of words, sequence of letters, and the way language is recorded in print.

    New book

    At the end of each lesson a new book is introduced to your child. Together, the teacher and student look through the book to understand the meaning of the story, try out new language structures and vocabulary, and sometimes locate a few words by identifying the first sound.

    After the introduction, your child will read the new book. During this reading, the teacher offers support as needed. This support will look different in different lessons based on the student’s reading behavior. If the student gets stuck, the teacher may prompt the student to try a strategy. The teacher encourages the child to search print and pictures, reread, discover how words look, problem solve, check his/her reading, self correct, and enjoy the story.