Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery teacher Julie Sardo worked with Colton while he was a first-grader at Atwater Elementary School in North Port. By third grade, Colton had earned a 4 on the English Language Arts FSA.


The Sarasota County School District first implemented the Reading Recovery program at three Title I schools in 2015. Two years later, the program was expanded to all 23 elementary schools throughout the district.

But it wasn’t long before the district began to receive recognition for its use of the short-term program, which was designed to help low-performing first-graders with reading and writing.

For the third year in a row, the district’s Reading Recovery program has outperformed the national average.

A report from Ohio State University, which evaluates Reading Recovery implementations throughout the country, found that 80% of Sarasota County students who received a full series of lessons last year reached average to above-average levels of reading and writing.

The national rate for achieving grade level through the program is approximately 75%, according to a news release.

“We are thrilled to see the continued success of this program,” said Mark Pritchett, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, which helped the district first implement Reading Recovery in 2015.

“Four years in and we not only continue to outperform the national average as a school district, but we’re also seeing our Reading Recovery ‘graduates’ continue to grow in later grades, with many doing advanced work in their current classrooms.”

Last year, 203 Sarasota County first-graders completed a full series of Reading Recovery lessons, which last from 12 to 20 weeks, the release said. Eighty percent of them, or 162 students, reached at least the grade-level average for reading and writing by the time their lessons were discontinued.


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