Leaders in Reading Recovery

Dame Marie Clay {1926 – 2007} was born in New Zealand, Wellington, and was, and still is, a worldwide authority on helping children who have difficulty with reading. She is recognised internationally for her work in this area.

Through her research and knowledge, she helped schools set up programmes for children struggling with reading. Dame Marie Clay focused on these students and set up a reading recovery strategy that is used in many countries around the world today.

Her vision – every child’s brain is like a blank canvas that needs a painting and we would all paint that picture in a different way – so is every child’s brain different from the next child’s and how they learn.

Through her influence many great teacher resources were published in New Zealand to help with literacy.

There are many articles about her on the web and I found these points below really sum up her endeavours;

  • She understood that assumptions about groups deprive us of the guidance that we need to teach individuals.
  • She re-conceptualised the constructs of prevention, intervention, acceleration and systemic implementation, which are now embedded in diverse, international educational systems.
  • She acknowledged the central role of collegial interactions in professional development and teacher leadership for sustaining children’s progress and educators’ work.

When My Dictionary was first developed by teachers in New Zealand they had the individual student in mind. Every child with their own bank of words that they would use in their writing and learn how to spell through repetition of use.

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