Taylor appointed to national Reading Recovery board

By Gabriel Blodgett | Oct 01, 2019
Source: Lori Taylor Lori Taylor has been appointed to the Reading Recovery Council of North America Board of Directors.

Appleton — Throughout her career in education, Lori Taylor said, she has been driven by a belief that “all children can learn, we just have to figure out how best to teach them.”

Taylor, who grew up and lives in Appleton, spent more than 25 years in public education and for the last three years has served as a Reading Recovery trainer of teacher leaders at the University of Maine.

She was recently appointed to a three-year term on the Reading Recovery Council of North America Board of Directors as a trainer representative, elected by her peers.

Reading Recovery is a 12- to 20-week literacy intervention for first grade students, who, after a year of school, show signs of being behind their classmates in reading and writing. The ensuing series of lessons is designed to “catch them before they fail,” according to Taylor, and consists of intense one-on-one instruction by certified teachers.

Reading Recovery was created in New Zealand in the mid-1970s by Dr. Marie Clay, and according to the RRCNA website, is approximately 75 percent effective at bringing students who complete the program up to grade-level reading and writing expectations.

Taylor, who spent almost 25 years in RSU 40 as a kindergarten, first grade, and special education teacher, said her path toward Reading Recovery began in the mid-1990s, when she signed up to be trained as a Reading Recovery teacher. She said she has always been someone who looked for new learning opportunities, and the program, which at the time was relatively new to the area, “changed my idea of what good teaching was about.”

The personal engagement and opportunity to see growth over a relatively short period of time in individual students appealed to her and she eventually became a literacy coach and then a teacher leader in order to help other teachers learn more about effective literacy instruction.

Another aspect of Reading Recovery that Taylor finds important is the in-depth education it provides to teachers about the process of childhood learning, which can be beneficial across grade levels and disciplines. The program’s model is also being used in expanding opportunities for older students and for those in special education and English as a second language programs.

Taylor grew up in Appleton and attended Appleton Village School and Camden-Rockport High School. Soon after graduating from the University of Maine at Farmington, she took a job as a special education teacher in Augusta before moving to Union Elementary School. While working in RSU 40, she commuted to the University of Maine to earn her master's in education in 2005 and later returned to Orono to earn a doctorate in literacy education in 2016. Since then she has worked training teacher leaders who themselves work in districts throughout the state, supervising, training and teaching in individual schools.

Taylor said the fact that her appointment was voted on by her peers made the honor especially meaningful. As the first member of her immediate family to attend college, she views her professional accomplishments as an example to young people, especially those from rural Maine who may not have a particularly academic upbringing, that their background and circumstances do not have to limit educational endeavors.

Her appointment, she said, is also meaningful in that it reminds people around the country that Maine is committed to childhood literacy and that there are people working hard to address it.

Although there are still schools that do not participate in the program, Taylor said she is pleased that commitment to Reading Recovery in the state has remained steady over the past several years in the face of tightening school budgets, which she said have decreased implementation in other areas of the country.

As a child, Taylor said she was reserved to the degree that her nursery school teacher asked her mother if she could talk.

She said she would never have pictured herself being on a national board or presenting in front of large groups, but “You can do it when you believe it’s important work.”

Although she misses working directly with children every day, she said one of the important aspects of the program is that at every level, there are ample opportunities to interact with students in one-on-one training sessions.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Oct 02, 2019 13:31

Also Kudos for such programs. Reading is important to a child's continuing education and it starts in first grade.

I taught my children to read at home before they entered first grade as at the time there was no Kindergarten .Reading and understanding reading is very important in lower grades. Kudos to the reading program.



Posted by: Jay Feyler | Oct 01, 2019 17:25

Congratulations, Reading Recovery is a fantastic intervention.



If you wish to comment, please login.