by Claire Miller
Twenty years ago, Charlotte McFalin Connah enrolled in Georgia State University’s first class of Reading Recovery, an international, early intervention program that trains teachers how to identify students with trouble reading and create tailored lessons to help them improve their reading skills.
Since that time, Connah worked in the Fulton County School System, until her recent retirement, first as a general education teacher and then as a curriculum support teacher who developed writing rubrics for kindergarten through fifth grade students.
She reflected on her career and the benefits of the program at the College of Education’s Reading Recovery graduation celebration on May 12.
“Reading Recovery is truly the gift that keeps on giving,” Connah said. “You’ve earned a wonderful gift that you’ll be able to share with children and teachers for years to come.”
GSU’s College of Education houses a Reading Recovery regional training center in the Southeast, which trains teachers and teacher leaders in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia and Bermuda to work with students one-on-one to improve their literacy skills.
In its 20-year span, the Reading Recovery program at GSU has trained 1,465 teachers, 69 teacher leaders and has impacted thousands of children in the Southeast.
Sixty-seven teachers were added to that count this spring, with graduates working in school districts as close as Cobb and Gwinnett counties in Georgia and as far as Campbell County Schools in Tennessee and Williamsburg-James County Schools in Virginia.
The groups from Cobb and Gwinnett County attended the graduation ceremony and were given certificates and Reading Recovery pins for completing the program.
Graduates like Lisa Lacey, a literacy coach at Roberts Elementary School in Gwinnett County, said the Reading Recovery program has made a big difference in their teaching.
“I am so blessed to have had the best training and teaching experience in my career,” Lacey said. “Reading Recovery has changed my life.”
And the program will continue to benefit students in Georgia and beyond when teachers like Lacey are dedicated to helping them achieve, said Floretta Thornton-Reid, executive director of Reading Recovery at GSU.
“We honor you, our graduates, and thank you for your commitment to children’s literacy,” she said. “Over these 20 years, we have served so many children and we are very proud to know that so many lives have been touched and will be touched.”
For more information about Reading Recovery, visit http://education.gsu.edu/ece/reading_recovery.htm.