Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals Cover

Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals

2nd Edition

Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals is an essential text for all teachers who provide individual instruction for young children having difficulty learning to read and write.

This new edition of Marie Clay's important book elaborates the teaching procedures, implementation practices and theoretical understandings that underpin the highly effective early literacy intervention Reading Recovery. Readers of the text have ready access to guidance for teaching children individually and for intervening effectively to undercut literacy difficulties in schools.

Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals describes an early literacy intervention that:

  • is individually designed and delivered by experienced teachers (who have received a further year of preparation for the role)
  • builds on the child's strengths as the only possible foundation for further learning
  • is directed towards developing in-the-head processes for working with written language
  • utilises reading and writing activities as mutually facilitating of early literacy learning
  • aims to maximise the child's contribution to his or her own learning in every teaching interaction.

The teaching procedures described in this book have been progressively refined and revised over many years in response to the reported experience of Reading Recovery professionals, new research and changes in education systems worldwide. Careful attention to organisation of content, section headings and text layout in the new edition has produced a text that is both informative and teacher-friendly.

Reading Recovery arose from a theory of how children learn to manage the complex tasks of reading and writing continuous text. Marie Clay's account of the research and theoretical foundations of this early intervention is set out in three recently re-published books: Becoming Literate: The Construction of Inner Control, Change Over Time in Children's Literacy Development and By Different Paths to Common Outcomes.

The assessment tasks that assist classroom teachers to monitor young children's progress with early literacy learning, and to identify early those needing additional help, are published in a fourth book, An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, now in its fourth edition.

The digital edition of this publication is intended for reference purposes only, we request that you have already purchased a print copy before ordering.

Only the print version of this text should be used with children.

Ages: 5-13 | Pages: 258 | Code: GE0213 | ISBN: 9781927293072

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Picture of Marie Clay

Marie Clay

For three decades Marie Clay has been acknowledged as a world leader in research on literacy learning, child development and the prevention of learning disorders.

Her early academic work as a child psychologist involved the observation and study of children as they acquire literacy. An outcome of this research was the development of reliable tools for assessing progress with literacy learning and these instruments have been published and are widely used around the world today.

Marie's decision to focus on struggling learners and the resulting development of the Reading Recovery early intervention changed how the education community worldwide viewed these children's chances of becoming literate.

There are many other publications by Marie Clay in the areas of writing, oral language and classroom learning.


Literacy processing: a simple view of a complex theory5
1. Preventing reading and writing difficulties9
Organising to prevent literacy difficulties9
Intervening early to reduce literacy difficulties14
A theory of literacy learning16
Individual instruction17
Daily intensive teaching21
Getting down to detail22
Reciprocal gains of reading and writing22
Using the Reading Recovery teaching procedures24
2. The shape of the child's series of Reading Recovering lessons26
Designing the series of lessons27
Roaming around the known29
Moving into instruction: shift the responsibility for learning to the child35
Developing independence41
Building the foundations of a self-extending processing system42
How children's behaviours change during a series of individual lessons44
Changes teachers might observe during lessons44
3. Learning to look at print48
Foundational learning49
Learning about direction50
Locating what to attend to in print55
Spatial layout58
Expanding knowledge of print59
Extending letter knowledge62
Extending word knowledge69
Learning how letters make up words71
4. Writing continuous texts, stories and messages77
Learning to compose and write messages78
Composing a message or story78
Writing the message or story82
Ways of solving word for writing86
Extending writing vocabulary88
Hearing in recording sounds and words92
Using known words to construct new words104
Assembling cut up stories and messages106
5. Reading continuous text, whole stories and information books110
Reading books111
Familiar reading111
Reading a new book in every lesson113
Phrasing in fast and fluent reading121
finding and using the information in print: developing the brain's activity on text127
attending to early processing130
Cross-checking on information135
Searching for and using information of all kinds137
Linking sound sequences to letter sequences; massive practice and text reading142
Taking words apart while reading146
Attending to words in isolation155
6. Adjusting teaching for particular difficulties165
When acceleration is compromised165
Some specific teaching challenges168
When it is hard to attend in sequence171
When it is hard to hear sounds or see letters174
When it is hard to remember176
When strong skills block learning179
When children are diagnosed with different problems183
7. Discontinuing individual lessons: the school team monitors for continuing progress186
Deciding when to discontinue individual teaching189
Discontinuing the series of lessons191
The school team monitors progress192
Using literacy to build literacy193
Appendix 1197
Foundational literacy learning199
Case studies of literacy processing206
Reading Recovery instruction211
Appendix 2217
Observation Survey Summary Sheet218
Observation Summary for Multiple Assessments220
Recommendations for Discontinuing the Lesson Series before Final Assessment221
Daily Listen Record222
Change Overtime in Known Writing Vocabulary224
Weekly Record of Known Writing Vocabulary225
Change Over Time and Text Level226
Weekly Record of Known Reading Vocabulary227
Additional rating238

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