Is Reading Recovery like Stone Soup?

Researchers from the Universities of Delaware and Pennsylvania have written a paper describing a large, multi-site, randomly controlled trial of Reading Recovery. The effect size is impressive: 0.69 when compared to a control group of eligible students. This is above Hattie’s effect size threshold of 0.40 and so suggests that we should pay attention. As a […]

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The Emperor’s New Theory

What could be wrong with a bit of diversity education, or perhaps teaching young people about the history of slavery? Surely, we can all agree that racism and slavery are bad? Why would we not want to teach young people about these evils so they may avoid them in the future? It’s a reasonable pitch […]

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The Ministry of Silly Hats

Edutopia is promoting the use of Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats. I have therefore reposted the following 2013 article from my old blog: When I was a young pup, during my first year of teaching, I had to attend a special training session each week with the other young pups and our professional tutor. […]

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Another flawed Reading Recovery study to add to the pack

Few educational interventions have generated as many studies as Reading Recovery. Reading Recovery involves giving struggling readers one-to-one tuition. I have no doubt that it has an effect, as any one-to-one intervention would have an effect. Some people claim that no other intervention has as much evidence of effectiveness at scale. That may be true, […]

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No, Reading Recovery doesn’t work in America

A couple of years ago, I reported on a large randomised controlled trial in the U.S. of Reading Recovery. I pointed out that, as with other studies of Reading Recovery, it was impossible to tell whether the instructional procedures used were responsible for any effect. Instead, any gains may have been due to the one-to-one […]

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The Ministry of Silly Hats

I noticed some discussion recently about Edward De Bono’s silly thinking hats. So I thought it might be worth re-posting this old piece that first appeared on the websofsubstance blog back in September 2013. Apologies for the fact that I’ve since reused the voice projection anecdote on this blog. When I was a young pup, […]

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The best way to teach

I am actually slightly more interested in what to teach than how to teach. However, teaching methods are more amenable to experiment than curriculum content and so I find myself discussing them more often. The reason why the effect of our choice of content is not easy to test highlights an important flaw in many experimental designs. Think […]

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How Reading Recovery probably works

I have written before about trials of Reading Recovery, particularly the recent I3 study from the U.S. Since then, I have become aware of two papers that I think are key to understanding the way that Reading Recovery works. To say that it ‘works’ is actually quite controversial. Objectively, it does. Placing students in a […]

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How to spend money in education

I will always be in favour of spending more money on education. I believe that a better educated population will not only make us materially richer, it will make us culturally richer, with the one buttressing the other. Yet I will admit that it can be a frustrating lever for politicians to pull. Not only […]

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