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Corrective Reading raising questions

By Molly Thacker on Feb 28, 2010 05:15 PM

Schools in Trenton, NJ are also using components of the Corrective Reading program that emphasize decoding skills.

I think if you asked them, most teachers would say that in addition to having their students excel in their studies, they would hope that they also feel empowered. In our daily interactions with students and in our lesson planning, we attempt to validate students’ experiences, affirm their identities and build trust in order to forge authentic relationships that allow us to teach them well. 

Do we fall short some days? Absolutely. But the intent and the purpose of making real connections with students so that they can make real connections with their learning is there. Lately, I have been grappling with finding the intent and purpose behind the Corrective Reading initiative taking place in classrooms all across our city.  

As I understand it, Corrective Reading is a direct instruction phonics program that promotes word and sound recognition, involves student repetition of words in a “call and response” format and requires the teacher to follow a scripted lesson plan and to use a snap, pencil tap or dog clicker to mark the rhythm of the lesson. I also understand that it was introduced in all the empowerment schools  this fall and has been mandated for increasingly longer amounts of time since, now filling all literacy and math blocks and being reinforced in science and social studies classrooms (replacing science and social studies lessons). 

Despite the very real issue of students reading below grade level and the necessity to be successful on the PSSAs, I have some questions about this particular intervention. 
First, it concerns me that the program teaches reading fluency as separate from reading comprehension. As literacy teachers know, decoding instruction cannot be divorced from understanding material and strategies must be provided for both. I also have my doubts about how this program will actually lead to success on the PSSA, considering the test includes full reading passages that require students to understand context clues and make inferences – not just repeat and recognize word patterns. Finally, it concerns me that this program has been deemed best suited for students in schools which have been identified as requiring “empowerment” and “corrective action,” language which I find troubling in and of itself. 
In addition to the questions this program raises for me in terms of student growth, I also worry about how teachers are being affected. My greatest concern is that schools will not be able to retain teachers who are required to ignore the humanity of their students and themselves in favor of a script and a dog clicker. Above all else, teaching requires the cultivation of a human relationship. To reduce the art of teaching and learning to discrete word lists must be demoralizing for both students and teachers. 
Students reading behind grade level is a serious issue in our schools and one that cannot be ignored. However, there are other strategies available to promote literacy achievement. Literacy instruction has the potential to be empowering and critically engaging for all students. 
There's been some discussion here of the problem already. In future posts, I plan to chronicle some alternative strategies for literacy instruction going on in real classrooms across the city. I encourage other teachers to post their suggestions and strategies as well. 

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Comments (95)

Submitted by Dina Portnoy (not verified) on March 1, 2010 5:02 pm

Thanks for raising your concerns and thoughts about Corrective Reading in this blog. Recently I saw a report which looked at 30 years of research on early literacy and reading which I think can also be helpful as we think about struggling readers. The report, Ensuring Early Literacy Success can be found here: It makes the case that teaching reading is more than a matter of teaching children how to “decode” letters and form spoken words.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 11, 2012 12:23 pm
I taught a corrective reading class for 6 students for 2 semesters, and I didn't follow the script and program exactly. I implemented my own way of teaching reading in conjunction with the program. I got some flack from one of the Corrective Reading coaches who came to evaluate how I was following the program. I simply explained to her that it was more important for them to actually learn how to read, and continue working on the same material that they hadn't mastered then going ahead with lessons at the fast pace that goes along with the program. When you have a curriculum to follow as a teacher, you have to follow it; however, when it comes to learning how to read, I don't believe that you have to keep going on to new material when you have not yet mastered the previous material. You will find yourself having "lost the students along the way." Learning to read follows a different set of rules, and it is more important to me for my students to learn how to read than continue on without them having grasped the basic decoding skills in previous lessons. I taught 7th and 8th grade students who still didn't have the decoding basics down. One of my students feared going into high school without learning to read, and I told him that I would try the best I could to help him with reading. He got much better, but still had a ways to go. But his confidence went up when he actually mastered the information. At first some of the students complained that we were behind, but when I explained to them that it was more important for them to learn to read rather than be on "pace" than they understood.
Submitted by (not verified) on March 16, 2013 11:02 pm
homeschool curriculum
Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on March 1, 2010 6:56 pm

The powers that be do not truly understand the nature of the corrective reading program. They have been sold a bill of goods by SRA . When the region came on a walk through at our school, they commented that they did not see Higher order thinking. Well, no kidding, there is no higher order thinking going on in corrective reading or corrective math. The program would be a good remedial program for a very specific subset of children, but not all kids (as it is being taught in Empowerment Schools). It is not at all engaging, and the stories we read are not at all compelling or interesting. I wrote a post called "Hey Arlene, Scripted Programs are Not Engaging" on my blog ( As teachers, it is very dispiriting to spend so much time on all these scripts. Kids find it mind-numbing.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on November 15, 2010 7:23 am

Kids find this mind numbing, and insulting. Even the children are insulted. The format of print is confusing, also. Beginning readers do not need this added exception to the rules - we teach sentence format and then hand them this stuf, that does not follow the rules. No wonder they are not doing as well as they should be doing.l

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2010 7:43 pm

The implementation of both the Corrective Math/Reading series and the Voyager versions has been halfassed at best. The only benefit I can see is maybe a free trip or car to somebody within the administration who sanctioned this nonsense. It sure as hell is not benefitting any of the kids. Even the ones who could use it won't benefit because you can't really go back to help them unless the a certain percentage of the class is not getting it.

Part of the problem stems from fact that this program was not started in Sept., but about halfway through the year with Voyager dump on teachers a little later. Now the so-called "brains" of the district have decided to double just about all of these programs in an attempt to jumpstart the lousy reading scores from the Predictive Tests last month. How far down a one way street do you have to walk before you realize you're heading into a deadend? Add to this the fact that Philly is putting too many kids into these classes. Six to eight is what many other school districts use it for. It is not implemented across the board for everyone, just those who need it.

What is really hurting everyone is the fact that this Howdy Doody program is stealing valuable time away from subjects that will appear on the PSSA. Upper grades should be working on percents, ratios, fractions, division, etc., but instead are forced to kill&drill addition and subtraction to a room full of bored children. I am convinced Arlene is out to sabotage any Empowerment Schools including those that DID make AYP last year. Then she'll have the perfect excuse to Renaissance these same schools . . . until the lawsuits begin.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on January 6, 2011 1:58 pm

We started in September. We are still changing the schedules, retesting kids and generally shrugging at each other. The feeling of frustration is absolute. This is not education.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2010 8:14 pm

As a teacher in an Empowerment School, I've started questioning my place thanks to the implementation of Corrective Reading. The whole idea of these scripted lessons go against the very nature of myself as a teacher. I tend to take a more organic approach to teaching that just can't be accomplished in the timespan I'm granted thanks to the time needed for Corrective Reading. Similarly, students who had me last year and who have me again this year tell me how truly bored they are in the classes.

Do I think in some cases Corrective Reading was needed? Yes. I saw a number of students whose reading levels were critically low and whose confidence I am watching soar as they master these words and this reading. Should it have been implemented with just one oral reading test so across the board? Absolutely not.

Lord help us all when the PSSA tests are given and the results are received.

Submitted by Leona da Vinci (not verified) on March 1, 2010 8:30 pm

It is both encouraging and uplifting to see educators who know what good literacy instruction looks like. Literacy Research and best practices all agree...learning to read starts with READING. Reading to children, exploring books and ENJOYING the process is what makes children become successful readers. Yes, some students would benefit from CR and CM to fill gaps and find success when they pick up a REAL book. But what is going on in Empowerment schools is simply IMMORAL. Students in heterogeneous age groups, chanting and reciting to a dog clicker? Then, when that torture is over, Vmath and Vport (PSSA Prep Lessons) for double periods? Then 10 minute "Do Nows" to practice test taking strategies? Teaching to the test is NOT teaching. We should be spending our valuable instructional time on finding out where kids are in their needs, meet them there and teach them with authentic books and engaging lessons. We should take the pot of money going to Voyager and SRA and fill these schools with books that children like from the floor to the ceilings! We should truly empower teachers by providing Professional Development that is relevant and supports the mountains of research in literacy. Unfortunately, all of the millions going to these silly programs will provide little results on PSSA and will only damage children in the long run. But by then Dr. Ackerman and her cronies will be looong gone. Voyager and SRA will be counting their coffers and the children of Philadelphia will be worse off for having known them.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2010 9:59 pm

At my school, we will have to start teaching CR and CM next year and I know several good teachers who are planning to leave (either to another school or the district entirely) because they are not willing to teach this kind of scripted curriculum. We have had to implement the Do Nows and Voyager lessons the same day we were given the materials. Discipline and management issues are up as engagement goes down. I can see already my kids are sick of doing the same thing over and over -- read, answer multiple choice questions, read, write a constructed response, multiple choice math questions, math constructed response -- repeat in a slightly different order for homework and there are still weeks of this left. Every parent in this city should be up in arms that students at 1/3 of district schools no longer deserve math and science nor critical thinking skills/higher order thinking skills. Arlene is DESTROYING this district. Good teachers will leave, smart students will drop out completely disengaged, millions of dollars will be wasted on programs that are at best unnecessary and at worst destructive to our students. Breaking existing social networks that exist that support the education of our students. Giving schools to managers with track records of not improving schools any faster than the district despite additional funding. What does the public think she is doing right now? I can't see it.

Submitted by ALEX (not verified) on March 1, 2010 10:19 pm

Hours in school from 8:30 - 3:09 = 6 hours, 39 minutes = 399 minutes

Breakfast IN THE classroom = 20 minutes
Corrective Reading "intervention" = 45 minutes
"Do Now" "intervention" = 15 minutes
Daily Skills / Voyager "intervention" for READING = 40 minutes
Daily Skills / Voyager "intervention" for MATH = 40 minutes
Corrective Math "intervention" = 40 minutes
Lunch & Prep = 90 minutes

TOTAL = 290 minutes

399 - 290 = 109 minutes (1 hour 49 minutes) for everything else: movement from room to room, transition time, Everyday Math, Guided Reading, Shared Reading, behavioral management, WRITING, Independent Reading, Science/Social Studies, PSSA Coach books, Constructed Response coaching. Did I forget anything?

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on March 3, 2010 1:45 pm

Yes -n the fire drill, bathroom time, three phone calls and homework, giving it, collecting it and reviewing it, or are we throwing that away, too??

Submitted by Dave (not verified) on June 1, 2012 4:07 pm

I am a teacher in MN, and although I understand some people don't like Corrective Reading, it totally depends how you implement it. If you are literally using a dog clicker when using it, you are truly an idiot. However, I have had great success with Corrective Reading with my kids over the last 4 years, and not one time have they found it mind numbing. The average kid was 2 grade levels below their grade level, and in fact appreciated the results that they saw. You are also able to implement your own teaching into it; asking students pre-reading strategy questions, having them look for what the problem in the story is, not just main idea and detail stuff. In short, the whole point of Corrective Reading is to help kids become better readers. I have seen nothing but great results with it, and the whole point of the program is that when they PLACE OUT of the program due to their reading ability, then they are reading to join a literature circle group or something like that. You truly need to understand that although some people don't like it, it produces results.

Submitted by Sierra Gecko (not verified) on May 29, 2014 7:23 pm
THANK YOU! I teach students who have had the "organic" type style taught to them, the "higher order thinking skills" programs and the "sustained silent reading". These kids that I work with HATE reading because they have not learned from previous strategies that work for most kids. This program IS effective when implemented with fidelity. Think of it this way, if you go to China and are in a reading class, would you want direct instruction "drill and kill" to learn or would you like to be thrown into higher order reading discussions and literature circles. The boring parrot method is needed first to build a solid foundation before moving on.
Submitted by Michelle Breum (not verified) on March 2, 2010 2:49 pm

People who create this type of reading program should be ashamed! Money should be spent on real books and magazines. Money should be spent on teacher training. The more time children read books and articles at their level the better readers they will become. Why not get subscriptions to different reading level magazines for science and social studies and let the children take these home and reread them to family members and friends for homework. There are a huge number of non-fiction books at all levels that could be purchased for these students instead of this mind numbing program. This practice breaks my heart!
I just made a post on my blog encouraging parents not to buy expensive reading programs to teach their children.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 26, 2011 2:35 am

Wow. Ashamed? As a teacher of struggling older readers, I have used Corrective Reading OVER and OVER again with good results. I had one parent actually cry when I moved and left the district because I would no longer be able to teach her son - an intellectually gifted 6th grade student who was a non-reader, and who had been in special education in our well-respected district for SIX YEARS. He simply had not been receiving the correct instruction by teachers who do not understand the development of reading.

You do not teach reading by READING as one poster stated above. You teach reading by explicitly teaching the skills and strategies necessary - beginning in kindergarten. Unfortunately, older struggling readers often did not receive the instruction they needed early on, and need remediation to catch up. Corrective Reading is a program PROVEN to work in this regard. No, it's not particularly engaging - which is why the TEACHER has to be engaging and communicate to students the importance of mastering the skills taught by the program and help them see their progress. Furthermore, older struggling readers should still have opportunities to learn comprehension strategies/skills and grade level vocabulary - Corrective Reading does not focus on these important areas of reading. It's not meant to.

Do yourself and your students a favor - take a reading class before you step in front of struggling readers again. They are depending on us.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on January 26, 2011 7:32 am

Actually - it matters not how great a teacher you are - if you do not provide reading practice on an instructional appropriate level, no child will grow as a readers. Yes - you grow as a reader by READING. All the skills that can be taught should be taught... modeled... reinforced and guided, but if they are not also practiced, they will not be mastered. This anonymous poster is bragging and taking bows - is that truly what this is about??
Corrective reading may be appropriate for a few of our struggling readers - but it is wrong for our beginning readers who still believe in their abilities and love to explore books, poetry and literature. The format is confusing, the focus on phonics can be limiting and it is being presented to whole classes with many of the children placed in groups that no longer meet their needs. these groups formed in October are sitting intact. No one is allowed to be moved, wether they are struggling now or bored. This is wrong.
This program should be targeted to small groups with very similar needs - not whole classes which is what we are doing.
And I repeat myself - if these children do not get the chance to practice these skills in real reading - in books ont heir own level with some interest int he topics - the children will not grow with the speed we know they could. No one learns to read without READING. it cannot happen.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2011 1:06 am

My point was not how "great" I am as a teacher, but that the CR program was what the struggling readers, who were disabled by not receiving appropriate instruction from the get-go, needed.

There is brain research that shows we can CHANGE the brain of readers identified as "dyslexic" to work like non-disabled readers by intervening early with explicit, systematic reading instruction. (Google Sally Shaywitz brain research.) That begins in Kindergarten with phonemic awareness, letter names/sounds, blending CVC words, and of course vocabulary and comprehension instruction. If students are shown to be behind in attaining these skills, we need to intervene as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, sometimes that doesn't happen, and older struggling readers have not mastered the foundational reading skills they need - that's where Corrective Reading comes in. Corrective Reading would not be appropriate for students who HAVE mastered phonemic awareness and basic phonics skills (you can assess this with a phonics screener). I'm not sure how your district is using the program, but it should be used for specific groups of students who are 4th grade and above and have intensive phonics gaps identified by assessment. Those students should also receive vocabulary and comprehension skill/strategy instruction.

Of course you have to READ material at your independent level to improve reading skill (independent level would be assessed by measuring the student's accuracy in text - above 97% is ideal). But some students, those who have not mastered the foundational skills that I mentioned above, cannot read accurately enough to just get better by "reading high interest books". They need to be taught the skills they lack to get to that point.

I just assessed a 6th grade student last week who is a virtual non-reader... 96% accuracy on a pre-primer level passage and not able to decode even CVC words on a phonics screener. She placed into Corrective Reading Decoding A. Don't tell me that just having this student read books she's "interested in" will teach her to read.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 5, 2013 9:05 am
I have to agree with you on the Corrective Reading program. Our school uses it as our intervention reading program in third through eighth grade. We just did our benchmarking for the middle of the school year and we have seen significant gains in all students using the program except for two. We are now trying to figure out how to supplement the program for these two students so that they can improve in their main areas of need. People who have not ever taught the program may think that there is no comprehension involved in the decoding program, but in fact, there is a ton of comprehension. It is very good comprehension too as it is both oral and written and there all areas of comprehension are covered, including main idea, sequencing, inferencing, etc. The comprehension piece of Corrective Reading is, in my opinion, very good and it too covers skills both orally and written so that students are using different modalities for thinking about comprehension.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2010 5:19 pm

Get with the program, people. If your wonderful, "organic" approaches to teaching can outperform corrective reading and math, then why are your students FAILING?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2010 6:56 pm

What makes you think this 'pgrogram" is not going to fail!?! It covers virtually nothing that is going to be on the test and takes away vauluable teaching time. As for student failure how come your kind never blames parent apathy, disruptive students, corrupt administrators for failure, just the same old blame it on the teachers again. Let teachers run the schools the way we see fit instead of some Main Line lawyers who contributes big bucks to their political party and maybe those failures will end. How long have YOU been teaching with Corrective Math or Reading or do you just shil for SRA for your paycheck. The program is a loser.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2010 8:05 pm

I have used Corrective Math and Reading for years. It works. But only if you implement it the way the authors intended, and stop blaming everybody else for student failure. Stop trashing the program until you have put some effort into it. Be accountable and professional.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2010 10:29 pm

It doesn't work for comprehension skills because it hardly even touches on that skill. The few comprehension questions are basic Right There questions. If you were a "professional" you'd know this already. However, it sounds like you're only "accountable" to the paycheck SRA gives you so stop telling the rest of us what to do. We did implement this program "the way the authors intended" and it's a joke, a rather dull one at that, too. Your posts are nothing more than commercials for your employer.

Submitted by Jose Rodriguez (not verified) on May 10, 2010 1:07 pm

I have used the program for about six years. Not only is it mind-numbingly dull, but the students hate it. Every year, they become so aggravated and insulted by the daily word drills that it leads to student behavior issues.

The program does show some progress in their reading fluency. Great. But there is no improvement in comprehension, no growth in higher level thinking, and they are always demoralized at the end of the year, knowing they have to continue it the following year.

Above all else, there is no reason why we can't have a different approach, which would surely show more improved results.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on March 2, 2010 8:58 pm

If you are going to spew inflammatory, blaming comments at least have the gumption to list your name. Many of our students start at such a great deficit that our methods take some time to take hold. Most of your kids DO make improvement over a school years time, it may take more time to get totally up to grade level. And many, many students are proficient or advanced (and not just at the magnets)--we work with all students, no matter how much time it takes.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2010 8:27 pm

What exactly are you trying to say? Please clarify.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2010 9:50 pm

How are my comments inflammatory and blaming? I am asking you why your students are failing. If you have a program that is proven to perform better than Corrective Reading and Math, I would love to hear about it.

You will not find a program that performs better.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2010 9:10 pm

"You will not find a program that performs better." If you really believe this, you haven't done the research or you're an employee.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 4, 2010 6:56 pm

I am a teacher. I have used this program for years. My students have made tremendous gains.

Can you say the same about any program that you have used?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 4, 2010 11:25 pm

Yes, but 440 didn't pick it (I paid for it myself), so I'm not allowed to use it anymore. And yes, their SCORES were higher!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 5, 2010 11:34 pm

Why are you still blaming teachers for the reading programs that are or have been used in the district of Philadelphia? We don't get to pick how the programs used. The administration has always done that and we have to use what ever they order us to use. What makes you think we have ever had a say in the materials used? That's up to the crooked politicians and their well-heeled contributors. It has nothing to do with actual learning effectiveness. Corrective Reading and Math would be fine for some students, but to make whole schools use it is absurd. Especially when you have older students bored out of their minds with the parroting aspect of a scripted lesson, one that barely touches the comprehension needed to pass the P.S.S.A. Stop blaming teachers.

Submitted by Beverly (not verified) on April 14, 2010 11:09 am

I have been teaching Corrective Reading to a small group of 4th graders this year. I have bonded with them, I give them snacks and we have had two celebrations. They look forward to the hour we are together. The program is not just about word and sound recognition, we spend a lot of time promoting reading comprehension. We also have enjoyed almost all the stories, and even wrote to the main character in the story about a major league baseball player. I see a great improvement in their reading and comprehension skills.
May be it depends on who is teaching the program whether the children benefit from the program!

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on April 14, 2010 11:54 am

Based on what you wrote, you aren't following the script with fidelity. What you are doing is engaging the students (celebrations, writing the main character) rather than the "drill and kill" of the script. This is how those of us forced to do this program with older students are surviving - we have to make adaptations to include comprehension and find ways to engage the students.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 1, 2010 11:33 pm

I also work with upper elementary students, and even though the activities mentioned are engaging ( wow what a concept) for students and offers opportunities to put education to practice.... it is not fidelity to the program...... which many of us educators of reading are forced to uphold to. It becomes a toss up of fidelity vs. using the concept to further the reading realm. Sad situation.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 25, 2010 11:34 pm

yeah a small group of fourth graders might react differently than a mix of reg ed 9th graders and sped students to a mind numbingly stupid story with static characters and a ludicrous plot. im glad your ten year olds liked the story about art my 16 year olds were a bit unengaged tho. but you're probably just a better teacher, maybe i'll utilize more celebrations

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 11, 2010 3:30 pm

yes, my district used Read 180 with great results. Adding CR on top of this is too repetitive and will further bore the students into not caring.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 11, 2010 7:19 pm

And did it make your teeth pearly white too?

Submitted by Anonymous on March 3, 2010 1:23 pm

Because of people who think like you.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2010 9:21 pm

Your students are failing because someone disagrees with your way of thinking?

Submitted by Meg McGettigan (not verified) on March 3, 2010 1:28 pm

I am at a school dreading this coming to us in the fall. How can anyone in today's world think that teaching word recognition and/or fluency in isolation is going to help children learn to think. Decoding is only one side of the balance and focusing there is going to bring our scores back down. We need a balanced approach that empowers our kids and supports their growth. These programs do not do this.
I am a teacher, not a trained monkey. I know what my kids need and it is not this.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2010 9:43 pm

Don't dread this program, welcome it.

You don't need to teach these children to think; they can already do that. Don't underestimate them. What they need to learn is how to read, and if they can't decode, they can't read.

If you really knew what your kids needed, why are they scoring so poorly?

This program will bring up their scores. But you need to follow it faithfully, believe in it, implement it with confidence. If you do that, you will see a dramatic increase in scores.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2010 9:01 pm

Perhaps our students were "scoring so poorly" because they didn't (& still don't) have enough attention in classrooms with 30+ students. The lack of Reading teachers, support staff, & school libraries/librarians may also have played a part in their poor scores. But correcting these things didn't require multi-megabucks contracts with outside vendors, so we'll forget them & get back to shopping.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2010 10:23 pm

You just don't get it, our upper elementary kids can decode backwards and forwards. Where they are failing is on comprehension, finding the main idea, themes, using context clues, etc. These are all area where Corrective Reading is sorely lacking. The bulk of the lessons are aimed at decoding, and not very challenging words at that, either! The few comprehension questions are Right There ones which we've been told for years were too basic for our kids. Go tell Queen Arlene, you've failed, we know who you work for and your comments towards teachers tell us where your main priority really lays.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on March 4, 2010 3:04 pm

Which scores? Corrective Reading / Math scores or PSSA scores? Yes, most students learn the CR/CM drill but there is no connection to the standardized tests.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 4, 2010 6:28 pm

It's easy to whine, complain and lay blame for your lack of success.

It takes a lot more courage to find a solution and implement it.

There are many teachers that use this program and find that it helps to greatly increase student reading levels. I'm not the only one.

I don't have experience with the program with the upper elementary grades. But with the lower grades, it works like a dream for those willing to implement it correctly.

I don't have to work for SRA to attest to this, any more than you are working for one of its competitors.

The author of this program also put out a book called Teach Your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons. I taught my 3 children how to read at the age of 3 using this book. At the tender age of 3, they could read better than most 2nd grade Philadelphia school children.

Yes, I am a strong advocate of this program. Because it works. I have used it with very low level students. There is nothing more rewarding than raising reading and math levels up to grade level with students who came in well under grade level.

What confounds me is that so many teachers are trashing this program before they have even used it. Yet, they provide no alternative solution. They whine and complain and blame. This does a huge disservice to our students.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on March 4, 2010 8:13 pm

I teach corrective reading to 5th -7th graders (some with IEPs) and they are bored silly. They can all decode, they need higher order thinking skills. Yes, CR can work for a very select subset of kids who are very behind in decoding. But it should not be used school-wide. I was able to raise my 7th graders PSSA scores substantially for the last several years--but I am still stuck giving them corrective reading. It should not be used for everyone!

Submitted by Meg McGettigan (not verified) on March 8, 2010 2:24 pm

I have not used this program... on that you are correct, but I have taught struggling readers for 20+ years and I can tell you with no hesitations that there no one program that will reach every child in every setting. This program may for a short time fix a couple of issues. It may. But those issues are not the only ones we are confronted by daily. We all know that short term fixes do not last. once that decoding piece improves, we will still be faced with kids struggling in comprehension and not allowed to teach them the skills they need to fix this issue.
Our current program is a balance of whole class instruction on skills, followed by small guided reading group instruction on "real" reading that practices the skill on the reading level. I can instruct the whole class on the literary element of setting in grade level material, then use the instructional reading level to practice this in guided reading groups. This balance is what has steadily improved our scores and reading levels. This balance is what works.
I do resent being told that my last 20+ years were wasted and this program is the solution. There is no one solution.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 1, 2010 11:16 pm

Our state recently adopted a state wide reading assessment. "Surprisingly" the results were less than wonderful. Many schools, including my district have decided to implement the intervention of a direct instruction decoding reading program (corrective reading) as one method of "boosting" state reading results. Interesting to note however, that no where on the state assessment is there a timed reading fluency assessment. The test units include grammar, literature, reading inferences, comprehension, story elements, author's purpose, etc.. which.are not emphasized in the direct instruction decoding reading instruction. I believe that this program is beneficial as an INTERVENTION but not as a whole reading program in which to "raise" reading scores that play such a role in deciding school curriculum, funding , staffing, rating, etc.

Submitted by Meg McGettigan (not verified) on March 8, 2010 2:45 pm

Okay - yes they can think. Most children can think to a simple degree. But they cannot analyze, synthesize, compare, contrast, predict or any of those other somewhat important life skills. They need direct instruction in comprehension skills. They need lots of time to read on the just right levels and practice the skills on these levels. They need to interact - heaven forbid, I mean talk about what they are doing, reading and listening to. To grow as readers, they must read and digest what they are reading. No one program provides all of this, yet this is coming in as if it does and we are being instructed to follow it like the Bible.
I may be forced to use this program, but I sincerely doubt that I will ever love it - no prepackaged program can possibly be what every child in the room needs. It is not possible.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 15, 2010 6:11 pm

"You don't need to teach them how to think" ?!?! Are you serious? When I entered college, thinking is the exact skill the orientation team told us we'd have to develop since it wasn't properly developed at the high school level. Good teachers teach children how to think so that they will learn to be inquisitive - the true source of intellectual engagement. Decoding is an easy skill to master for those who are motivated to learn (i.e. intellectually engaged).

Submitted by Mary-Poppin (not verified) on March 5, 2010 8:14 am

Your concerns are certainly valid. I hope that you will continue your postings so that we can understand better and also so that we may be able to see what your alternative plans are. casino

Submitted by A.P. (not verified) on March 5, 2010 9:27 am

The comments about teachers' inability to teach being the reason for a program like Corrective Reading is surely insensitive. What are teachers supposed to do when they signed up to teach 6th grade and they have middle schoolers on a 3rd grade reading level? By then it is too late and someone wanting to maintain the integrity of their teaching by reaching their low level students without a program like Corrective Reading is no reason to insult or degrade them.

Don't blame teachers -- or Corrective Reading -- for the problems facing reading in secondary education. Blame a society and school district so desperate for federal funding that they take literacy out of the elementary schools (where it needs to be) and shove the square peg in a round hole in high school when they realize that kids are behind.

We're all angry that our kids can't read, no matter what grade level we teach. If you're angry that you have to teach CR and you want to teach real literacy or you're invested in CR and angry that other teachers complain about it -- stop. Stop complaining and get involved wherever possible to stop this insanity and insist that we give our students from K-12 the best first teaching so we don't have to be angry anymore.

Submitted by Meg McGettigan (not verified) on March 8, 2010 2:06 pm

You have made a couple of strong points. This is an issue that is splitting teachers and that should never happen. That I agree with. I also agree that high school is too late to try and fix these issues. I teach second grade and am struggling to support my struggling readers. This program is just as unfair to them as it is for my above grade level readers. they will be slowed down and may even have to stop and wait. This is as wrong as NCLB. It never considers the top or the bottom. reduce class sizes and arm teachers with the PD and supplies to meet everyone where they are educationally, so everyone can get an education.

Submitted by hs teacher (not verified) on March 5, 2010 9:59 pm

i told the notebook to do a story about this months ago. if they had, these programs may not still be in existence.

Submitted by Paul Socolar on March 5, 2010 11:00 pm

This has actually been a case where a topic has been extensively discussed in the Notebook for months - for instance here and here and here and here - and I'm sure it's a hot topic in schools, but the criticisms raised don't seem to have made it into the wider public discourse. I don't believe there has been coverage of the issue in the Inquirer or Daily News or testimony on Corrective Reading/Math at the School Reform Commission.

Submitted by Philly HS Teacher (not verified) on March 6, 2010 4:27 am

Thank you, Notebook, for raising concerns about Corrective Reading/Math. This is the only forum I am aware of that is allowing teachers to express concerns. Just FYI - next year, any 9th grader who has not completed the full cycle of CR/CM (e.g. all of the reading program - A, B1, B2 and C (which takes a year) and all math levels through "fractions/decimals/percents") will be rostered for CR/CM in 10th grade. Again, CR may help students with very low decoding/fluency skills in reading but it will not get them ready for the PSSA - or any high school text. It is not appropriate for English Language Learners (and SRA agrees). Why Ackerman believes CR/CM is appropriate for all high school students is beyond me...

Submitted by M. Thacker (not verified) on March 8, 2010 7:22 pm

Thank you all for your comments. I want to emphasize that the purpose of this post was not to lay blame, but rather to examine the program and search for solutions. If you have made CR work for you, please let us know. If you can offer an alternative plan, please post that too.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 14, 2010 6:07 pm

Are any schools using teacher assistants to teach CR?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 14, 2010 10:12 pm

What's a "teaching assistant"? We're in Philadelphia.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 14, 2010 9:48 pm

There are counselors being pressganged into teaching it. I think it's a case of supply and demand. If your school is short teachers then others will be forced in to take up the slack. That's the problem with forcefeeding a remedial program to every student in the school.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 14, 2010 9:12 pm

It saddens me that so many of the teaching profession makes uninformed opinions of Corrective Reading. It is the best tool a teacher could possibly ask for. You don't just use the decoding module, you need to use the Comprehension module, the Spelling Through Morphographs and Reasoning and Writing. It is a complete package. Wake up people! There is 40 years of studies proving you all wrong. It works! It is child abuse to NOT use it!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 14, 2010 10:33 pm

Thanks to the good folks down at Corrective Reading for this post. I hope you get that bonus you've been shilling for with your posts. Where do you get off telling us that our opinions are "uninformed"? We have to use this lifeless crap you think is so wonderful. The inane stories kill any possibility of children learning that reading can be exciting. The writing and spelling portions are so small they are useless. Maybe their is another part that the district forgot to buy us (right behind the science books that never arrived). Not to mention that we are using last years workbooks because somebody forgot to order them. Oooopss! Subjecting children to this deathly excuse for a reading program is human abuse. Didn't they outlaw Corrective Reading along with mustard gas in the Geneva papers? If you want to raise reading scores start by truly ending social promotion at the end of every summer.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on November 15, 2010 7:38 am

The only way to improve as readers is to read, just like the only way to learn to walk is to walk and to learn math is to do math. With corrective reading, we are drilling in isolation things that not everyone in the group needs drilled and NOT tying it into practice. That's why I dislike the program. Logic tells me that I should introduce a skill - maybe a phonic concept, then provide practice in real life reading to reinforce that skill. Corrective reading and Imagine it do not provide this intensive practice. The kids at beginning levels do not get to actually read as part of any lesson. If they are reading, it's half a story in Imagine It - twice. It's not grounded in immediate practice. It will not help the kids get to mastery this way.
Now - let's keep ignoring the format of print in corrective reading. That is a distraction to my kids, who keep asking about it. They are against the format and the confusion it creates.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on November 15, 2010 8:04 am

Actually, we can only use the pieces bought for us to use. To assume that we were supplied with the entire program is naive. The district did not provide everything... that would make life easy.
That said, I am still against this program. It has little ones cycling into other rooms. Children this young should not be spending their day code shifting from one teacher to another... They should be in one classroom, with one teacher who has the support from the administration to provide all the literacy and math instruction the kids need - at every level they need it to be in. The program might work - if provided entirely and with the freedom to use it as needed. Dumping it on whole schools is wrong.

Submitted by Philadelphia citizen (not verified) on November 15, 2010 8:16 am

Corrective Reading does NOT improve Reading Comprehension or General Reading
Achievement. Go to the federal government’s own website for the research reports: Read Richard Allington, What Really Matters in Response to Intervention. Research does NOT justify the widespread use of Corrective Reading in Philadelphia’s schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 16, 2010 9:47 am

I am intrigued and encouraged by this honest feedback. I'm glad the Notebook offers this Blog service. I wish there were a similar system designed to systematically get and document anonymous feedback from all teachers that have to use this CR or any other method. So far it looks like the cons outnumber the pros. I am a former homeschooling parent that has invested countless volunteer hours to better my local neighborhood elementary school. Several years ago, I assisted with the Power Hour for 2nd grade students. I definately agree with the criticism of inanity of the stories in the material used. If the children did begin to pay attention and comprehend, they would surely be less motivated rather than more. This makes no sense to me. Why is there punishment for comprehension? Observing my own children, a critical component of their reading ability was their absorption of the spoken culture they encountered. What helped my second child, who struggled visibly, was a curriculum that stressed a combination of vocabulary coupled with spelling. I suppose I can't go into too much detail, because of course it's copyrighted; however, what I found was particularly clever and effective, was that he was not given the meaning outright of these words. Instead, he had to find the best fit in context for the word(s) given several choices. This worked very well for him. The context/story is very important. It saddened me that my local school ignored the indication that it was a cultural subgroup that lagged; and did nothing to address that it might take an intermediate interpretive approach to get these kids fluent.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 15, 2014 10:53 pm
dear anonymous, i am very interested in knowing more about all that you shared. my daughter who is 5 i struggling in reading but excelling in science and math. she has a different teacher for science and math. they have completely different teaching methods. i was especially interested in you saying: "address that it might take an intermediate interpretive approach to get these kids fluent." thank you so much for any advice you may have or resources you may recommend.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 5, 2011 4:36 pm

I have 32 years of teaching reading to special education secondary students. I found CR to be the best program by far for teaching decoding. Obviously a reader must be able to decode before he can comprehend. Once he/she starts being able to decode, he/she starts comprehending.

Is CR boring to teach? Yes, but it's effective. So how can a professional decline to use it? It's the results that are exciting.

Do teachers like it? No, a lot of teachers don't like it. They don't like to be told exactly what to do, what to say and how to go through the lessons. Although the lessons are scripted, the instructions do not have to be followed exactly. There is latitude although perhaps some CR experts might not say so. I know there's latitude from experience.

Over the course of 32 years I taught a lot of kids how to read. It wouldn't have been nearly as many with out CR. I highly endorce this program.

Submitted by Philly HS Teacher (not verified) on January 5, 2011 7:51 pm

The most telling information in your post is that you've found Corrective Reading useful for secondary special education students. If a students is in high school and places into Corrective Reading, this is a last attempt to help the student learn how to decode. While decode is obviously necessary, if a student leaves high school and can only decode, s/he is functionally illiterate. I agree some students with severe reading disabilities benefit from repetition/ drill, but most students do not need it. It turns them off to reading.

The program also is far too long and disconnected from most people's reality. Reading happens after prior knowledge is triggered - Correct Reading forces students to read without any context or connection. So, yes, if a student is in high school and reads at a 2nd grade level, learning to decode may get them through an application but this is not enough.

As a teacher, we obviously hate it because it assumes we are totally incompetent, can't interact with students, and know nothing about reading.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 5, 2011 11:23 pm

If it works with special ed kids then by all means use it, but don't force it upon the general student population. Most of them need comprehension skills, not decoding and this program does not deliver it. The comprehension questions are on such a Howdy Doody level the majority of kids are bored stiff. The teachers lose interest in it as it is scripted and leave no room for any imagination.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on January 6, 2011 7:37 am

I have no doubt that this program would be supportive of kids with the specific needs in your group. My complaint is that it is being force fed to the entire school. Not everyone needs to sit and echo the sounds made by the letter m in this stage of their development. Corrective reading should be used by those teachers who need it to support the growth of readers in their groups. In early elementary, few children need this intensity. Most need o be shown the skill, practice it with guidance, then turned loose to practice it alone, in real reading situations. Corrective reading does not allow this. It teaches skills in isolation, without a tie-in to real life situations. This is a turn-off to most beginning readers and against logic to most teachers.
I am glad the program has supported your learners, but I must wonder what they were exposed to throughout their early lives that created the need for such intensity.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 5, 2011 11:29 pm

If this program is suppose to be done with "fidelity" then why are teachers forced to teach it to 20 or more kids in a class? The program and its videos show small groups, not double digit classes. The school district of Philadelphia needs to start practicing what it preaches if it wants teachers to teach with "fidelity"

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on January 6, 2011 7:12 am

You are right. We jus got permission to look at our groupings, since the span in each low group is spreading out and we have three teachers assigned to the exact same lesson. Hopefully, reworking the groups will allow those bored little ones to reconnect with what they are being required to do and allow some to move faster. If we had the smaller group sizes that the program calls for, this would not be such an immense task. Having tow groups in a class is much workable than the five or six some of us are currently trying to juggle.

Submitted by Retired (not verified) on January 6, 2011 12:00 pm

I taught in North Philadelphia for over 35 years and saw many programs come and go. The School System is trying to move quickly to raise scores and is not looking at the big picture with scripted programs. It takes time to develop into a good reader. A good reader learns to read through practice and practice comes from the desire to read. If the content is dull, the student will not want to read on their own. If reading is only done in school, students will not become lifelong readers and learners. We need to teach children to learn to love reading and engage them with good literature. Teach them to ask questions with higher order thinking skills. What we see today with scripted programs is what happens when non-educators run school systems. It is not a good path for students or for our future.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on January 6, 2011 1:33 pm

Dear Retired,
I feel I know you. I totally agree. To create a life long learner, who loves reading, we need to make reading exciting from the very beginning. Life long learners come from children who are read to, who get to interact with books of all size, color and type. Poetry, song, non-fiction and fiction should be surrounding our children from the minute they are born (conceived if at all possible). Every child can be a reader, if they are instructed on their level and supported to move forward. I loved the title of "No Child Left Behind" because I believe that every child has the ability to be more tomorrow than they are today, if they are treated with patience, understanding and plan for that tomorrow. We are filing our students today, because we are trying to squeeze all those learners into the same mold ont he same page on the same day. We are creating the hatred and fear of learning, instead of the life long learners they can and should be.
I thank you, Retired for your years of service and the post. You are right.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2011 6:03 pm

Hold on---just for a minute. You are right. We are trying to put all the students in one mold. However, Corrective Reading can work--I have seen it with my child. BUT, it was used as part of several strategies to help him read along with the Wilson Language Program, word attack, etc. My child is dylexic. Corrective Reading cannot work for all kids--yes the stores can be boring.

If a kid wants to learn--and my child did (very low reader in the 5th grade) and has excelled past his peers due to using a lot of strategies.

Submitted by Pearl (not verified) on February 24, 2011 8:28 pm

It is the teacher, and not a set of materials that make a difference. You can use Corrective Reading or LEAD 21, or whatever, but it isn't the program that does it, it is the teacher that makes or breaks student achievement.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on May 24, 2011 6:39 pm

I love reading your conversation about reading instruction and the use of corrective reading. It is about time we started debating instructional issues rather than who is going to control schools and profit off of our schoolchildren.

For twenty years I was a Reading Coordinator and led a team of as many as ten reading specialists who designed and implemented a comprehensive diagnostic - prescriptive reading program for students at University City H.S. I left to be an administrator (a mistake) and am retired now.

We debated the "best practices" of teaching reading and validly assessing reading ability and reading disabilities just about every day. I agree with with Pearl about it is the teacher not the program which counts in reading instruction.

If you are talking about the SRA "Corrective Reading" kit, we used it the first year and never used it again. We found that using interesting stories, books and factual articles were so much better and more effective for reading instruction. It is important to use "Socratic questioning" and probing questions to develop higher level comprehension and thinking skills. A good reading teacher thinks on her/his feet.

A highly skilled and educated reading teacher whether it be a specialist, special ed teacher, classroom teacher, or English teacher
is the critical factor in reading instruction. Keep up the most important debate we need to have -- What are the "best practices" in the teaching of reading!

You all are Great!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 24, 2011 7:34 pm

I was thrown into teaching Corrective Reading C my first weeks of teaching, to a very challenging group of high schoolers, with no training, in the middle of the school year. A couple of the students made small gains in responding appropriately to the dog-clicker crap.

Where we really made progress was using a high-interest text that was written at about a third grade level (there are so many of these, this poorly written drivel about mustard jars and old white people deep-sea diving is astonishing). The students would get involved in conversations that honestly amounted to literary criticism. It felt more like a remedial college course. Corrective Reading rang hollow for them, and most of what I got in response was "Why do we have to do this every day!"

Now, I am the first to admit that it may not have been my finest teaching moment as I am neither English nor SPED certified. However, I think anyone with half a brain should know that these stories with their inaccessible, weird, old-fashioned speech, language, and idioms are a bizarre pick that are simply not worth the money. Sometimes, teachers who are under 30 don't even know what the heck they're saying in these stories. They are not age-appropriate for high-schoolers. They are completely unrelatable for students.

And that's leaving aside the program itself, which is banal and frustrating all at once. Simply put, the whole thing is a waste of money and a message to both teachers and students that they should not be human. There is no room to be human. SRA does not allow opinions or thinking. We are all being replaced by robots.

I remember learning to read, and I remember being ecstatic about it. I remember teachers reading me stories that I loved. I remember a natural, organic process by which practice made me a better, more fluent reader who soon didn't need instruction on reading, persay. Now, students who are in CR may not share these feelings, but can't we try? Instead of snapping at them, dehumanizing them, turning them into phonics machines?

I have since taken a high school student from not knowing the alphabet to being able to decode CVC and longer words. Now, he was put with me because he wasn't high enough of a level to be put in CR A. In a decade of education, he did not learn the alphabet. I have taught him the importance of reading, the fact that letters correspond to sounds, and those correspondences. He is now working at home on these things. Tell me, McGraw Hill, why this students was shoved through years of scripted bs and we have made more progress in 3 months than he did in years of that? Tell me how teachers are supposed to differentiate while reading a script? Tell me how you connect with students, engage their lives, likes, and loves into something where you are reading a script?!?

Students who are this behind do not need a robot. They need someone who cares.

Submitted by Rich (not verified) on May 24, 2011 7:21 pm

Your success is because you did what reading specialists did back in the day -- assessed the student's needs and designed your own instruction to meet those needs. Do you know what an experience story is?

It is a method whereby you prompt the student to tell you a story or such and you help him. You write it down -- print it. Then you have the student read to you what he wrote. You build word recognition skills and teach phonics and phonetic analysis that way. And you teach comrehension at the same time. Try it!

If I were your principal, I would tell you to throw the crap away and do student centered instruction. Then I would slip you a few bucks to go buy a classroom library. But that is why I am no longer an administrator.... Good luck and have Fun doing it!!!!

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on May 24, 2011 3:25 pm

I agree we need to stop buying into these programs and better prepare teachers to teach reading. People are grabbing onto these programs thinking they are the end all be all. They don't have the training involved to actually teach reading and they are missing the foundation of what good reading skill include! Reading instruction is so individualized and you can't fit every child into a specific reading program, authentic reading instruction should be happening only after you have assessed the child's needs, developed the program to meet their needs, and monitored and readjusted as needed while the child progressed through the stages. Reading is more than decoding and these types of programs Orton, Wilson and now the Corrective Reading make students over emphasize on pronunication and miss meaning! They aren't analyzing the text, inferring or utilizing any higher level thinking skills. They are word calling. It is so sad and people want to know why we have so many people who are illiterate!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 23, 2011 2:45 pm

Students actually love Corrective Reading (especially students well below level) and find it very engaging and exciting. Indeed it is scripted but that is part of the structure and consistency that these particular students need in their reading intervention. It is a great balance of phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and writing, not to mention the thinking skills which are applied each day.

I would definitely NOT compare Corrective Reading with the Wilson program!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 23, 2011 3:12 pm

Actual students don't actually love Corrective Reading, especially not higher grades. The stories are boring and students cannot relate to them. In the words of one of my students "Is this another story about old white teachers?"

It has a very poor balance between fluency and comprehension-- in fact, most series ONLY test and track fluency. Only C has much writing, and then none of it is open-ended.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on September 23, 2011 4:11 pm

Corrective reading might work if done correctly. As we are doing it - shoving kids into inappropriate groups, dragging groups of 25 plus kids through the mis leveled activities and insisting everyone does this wrong - it is a bust. A huge waste of time, energy and money.
kids older than second grade should not be doing single sounds in isolation - not in large groups or in multi age groupings. It is insulting and belittling.
there is no logic to doing this program wrong and that is the reality of what is going on.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 23, 2011 7:18 pm

One problem lies in placement. There are high schoolers in this district who do not have enough reading skills to be in A1. On the other hand, almost all of the students in some high schools will test into C because of the cutoff scores.

There is no doubt we need a focused, intensive intervention program. But we need more innovation and freedom to reach kids who are so far behind-- not a script.

Submitted by able books (not verified) on October 12, 2011 10:48 am

It’s been really great going through your blog post, very well informed and described. Great to read and know more about such kind of stuff.

Submitted by drdo (not verified) on October 24, 2011 3:03 am

My questions about Corrective Reading are as a parents (although I am a teacher).

We've been overseas fro 6 years, our 3rd grade child was in a non-English speaking country for 6.5 years. She is verbally fluent in English but is highly limited in her reading and writing and below her grade level. She was placed in the ESL class for reading and math, but that class is a kiddie-joke-go out and find fall leaves class, so I wanted to move her. My options have been: attend the Corrective Reading Course with 11 other 3rd graders OR have a 1:1 Reading Teaching work with her.

I went online to read more about CR and found this forum. Most teachers here are not impressed with CR being used for an entire, large higher-aged class but as a parent, in my situation, wouldn't CR be ideal for our child...or is it too boring and too demeaning? Is the 1-to-1 choice a better option?

I don't know enough about the program, but know it would be better than keeping her in the ESL program (English is her 1st language).

Submitted by drdo (not verified) on October 24, 2011 3:39 am

My questions about Corrective Reading are as a parents (although I am a teacher).

We've been overseas fro 6 years, our 3rd grade child was in a non-English speaking country for 6.5 years. She is verbally fluent in English but is highly limited in her reading and writing and below her grade level. Upon return to the USA, she was placed in the ESL class for reading and math, but that class is a kiddie-joke-go out and find fall leaves class, so I wanted to move her. My options have been: attend the Corrective Reading Course with 11 other 3rd graders OR have a 1:1 Reading Teaching work with her.

I went online to read more about CR and found this forum. Most teachers here are not impressed with CR being used for an entire, large higher-aged class but as a parent, in my situation, wouldn't CR be ideal for our child...or is it too boring and too demeaning? Is the 1-to-1 choice a better option?

I don't know enough about the program, but know it would be better than keeping her in the ESL program (English is her 1st language).

Submitted by advocate (not verified) on November 22, 2011 11:48 am

This is my perspective as a parent with an older struggling read who was not remediated bin his early years. Iam not looking backwards to place blame--I am looking forward to insure sucecess.
This is what I had to do once I understood his rights under IDEA and hired an advocate:
1. The school district paid for an independent evaluation by a neuropsychologist who diagnosed my child with dyslexia. My child was 12 years old with high reading comprehension and fulkyincluded with no behavioral issues--and was only reading at a 2nd grade level. I trusted the school system. Now, I am fully aware. My son has made it clear. At his PPt meetings that he wants to to college.

2. The school districts tried so interventions but lacked training in Wilson Reading Pogram to fully implement it with fidelity. That all has due to my son and the state board of education involvement.

3. Older struggling readers require a multi sensory approach. Sadly, it may or may not be indivualized for each student depending on staffing, budget, etc.

4. My child gets Corrective Reading, Wilson, etc. and takes high level courses with some modifications depending on the course. But, he does have any specials due to the level of remediation since he was left behind. That is the cost asante is getting the full remediation services. Also, he is very active after school in community involvement, sports, etc.

5. My child's progress in being carefully monitored and he is an advocate for himself with guidance from a state advocate.m

He is progressing with the multi sensory approach. Corrective Reading and WRP and a challenging him with fully included courses are making an difference. Please don't discount CR or any other program. For kids without an advocate, I would tell school systems parents to look into Read 180 and Lexia Reading-both you can get at home if your school system does not have such. I sacrificed and saved money to insure at my child had what he needed.

I also spent months researchIng literacy, older struggling reads, IDEA, etc. I can now speak the language and walk the talk,

A note. Some older middle and high school struggling readers are resistant to remediation. They do not want to be pulled out of the regular classroom for support and do not want to lose their specials. I have found that outside organizations can help with this and a provide some of the remeidation without embarrassing the kids in the classroom. It helps with some resistant readers but not all.

At the end my research, I know in my heart that teachers do their best with the resources that they have.

God bless...

God bess

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 6:52 am

In our school, our Tier 2 pull-out reading interventionist uses Corrective Reading. It does amazing things... for fluency, if a student does not have phonological disabilities . I am a special ed teacher, and some of the students who see me for intervention also see her. Kids who only have Corrective Reading do poorly on comprehension tasks... so those special needs kids who see her too get a focus from me on comprehension strategies. The two approaches combined do wonders, but Corrective Reading CANNOT stand on its own.

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 29, 2012 6:55 am

As a pullout support, corrective reading makes sense. We have for example split our second grade readers into two groups - those getting the K level support and those getting enrichment level. That's it - no middle ground. This is stupid, frustrating and a huge waste of time and energy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 18, 2012 1:46 pm

Does anyone know where I may get an out-dated copy of the SRA Reasoning & Writing Level D Presentation Book? I am homeschooling my exceptional child and would like to use this program to continue with that education.

Thanks in advance. (Feel free to email me directly at


Submitted by Marge (not verified) on August 23, 2012 8:49 pm

I am very concerned that a school district would select such a program as their curriculum based reading program! Corrective Reading is a Special Ed reading program that we use with our students with severe language disorders that impact reading and our students with specific learning disabilities in the reading area. For our school-wide we use Treasures and to give our little ones a head-start we use leveled readers and assess them with the DRA. I pray that the 40% succeeding in the school mentioned above were not subjected to Corrective Reading! I would act out too! What happened to teaching to the average student and supplementing the highs and lows? I love the old SRA programs! Those work better with kids who need a little more one on one than Corrective Reading. This program is for the 3-5% at tier 3 in RtI, not for an entire school or school district! Shame on them for taking the easy way out with these children! :(

Submitted by Michelle (not verified) on May 15, 2014 9:03 pm
I am the parent of a third grader in Virginia. My child was recently diagnosed with dyslexia, or perhaps you prefer a specific learning disability. I have been round and round with the school the school to get her evaluated. I finally had her evaluated by an outside source. My child has been in the SRA program for two years. She has not made any significant progress. In fact, her progress has been less than 3 percent in 3!!!! years. I am not an educator. I have worked as an assistant teacher with PALS, teaching phonemic awareness and all that goes along with that. I will tell you what SRA does do. It kills any love of reading a child might have. It breaks the spirit of our children. I have never seen my daughter as sad and anxious as I did when she was in the SRA program. I am heartbroken over this program. You can discuss your success in terms of numbers. You can break down the scores and such. I could care less. Our teachers deserve a better program. Our children deserve better. It doesn't matter where they are from or what their background. We are blessed to be able to hire an academic tutor that is using the Wilson program with my daughter. She laughs with my daughter, she does require her to do things in a structured way, but she values the person my daughter is and is becoming. To all the teachers on here that are speaking out good for you. To those of you who agree with this curriculum, I humbly ask you to think again. It is detrimental to our children. Thank you for allowing a mere parent to speak out on behalf of a rising 4th grader who is reading on a K level thanks to SRA.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 17, 2014 11:09 pm

Corrective reading is one of the only succesful approaches for teaching reading to all students.  It works for every student, every time.  Teaching should not be treated as some sort of organic art form; it is a science and lives depend on it.  CR has a seperate comprehension component.  These are intervention programs.  Some students decode but don't comprehend.  Some do the opposite.

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