2nd Round Action Research: Accelerating the Learning

I thoroughly enjoyed participating in various sessions through the on-line LitCon 2022 Conference last January-February. One particular session entitled, The Quest for Accelerated Gains in Writing, provided by Mary Fried had me looking at and reflecting on my own practices during the writing part of my Reading Recovery lessons.

Mary defined high-impact teachers and discussed some commonalities found in the writing portion of their lesson. High-impact have:

  • the majority of students show accelerated progress and complete their programs within 15 weeks of lessons or less
  • students that moved 12 or more text levels.

This led me to consider some action research in which I would outline a plan for working in the way of high-impact teachers following Marie Clay’s key ideas of reciprocity, flexibility, independence.

What is the Problem?

It is week 20 for my 1st round students and my 2nd round of Reading Recovery is right around the corner. My mind is already swimming with some problems that I am contemplating:

  • Interruptions to programs led to longer programs
  • 2nd round is even shorter than normal
  • Many 2nd round students have also had their learning interrupted this school year (some multiple times)

What is my Concern?

My concern is that I won’t be able to accelerate these students fast enough to make a substantial impact on their reading and writing learning.

What Action Steps Will I Take?

In the 1st 6 weeks I will:

  • Spend more of my lesson time on writing
  • During roaming around the known I will include at least 2 episodes of writing
  • Include more entries on the practice page
    • Extend writing vocabulary (at least one new word per day)
      • these become the words to use for analogy later on
    • Start Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words during 1st week of lessons
  • Send home homework to practice letter formation and a word (along with cut-up sentence and books to read)
  • Encourage the crafting of complex stories
  • Be purposeful with supporting students with generating a variety of stories
  • Teach for independence. Students should
    • Go to practice page on own
    • Initiate writing and keep on writing, with an attempt to start each word on own
  • Make connections to the books the child is reading
    • Confirm spelling
    • Use of punctuation
  • Make connections to what the child can do in the classroom to help themselves

What Language will Support Acceleration?

I need to be more intentional with the “economy of language”.

  • More silence
  • Use more non-verbal cues
  • Plan out prompting to be less wordy
  • “What else do you hear”
    • use prompt only ONE time, put in the sound if the child doesn’t know
  • In the beginning, don’t demand short vowels sounds, “This will make it look right”

What Data Will I Collect?

On roaming day 10 and lesson day 30

  • Do HRSW
  • Running Record on a new book with minimal book introduction at student’s instructional level


  • Collect writing samples where I do not assist the students during the writing component of the lesson

Want to Join Me?

Do any of you have the same problem and concerns as me? Would anybody like to join me in this action research project? If you would like to join me on this journey please share any thoughts, data, or progress in the comments section, on Twitter @literacypages, or on our Literacy Pages Facebook Group.

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