Reading Recovery teacher Julie Sardo worked with reluctant reader Colton in first-grade at Atwater Elementary. By third grade, Colton loved to read novels and earned a 4 on the English Language Arts FSA.

Reading Recovery in Sarasota County Schools has outpaced the national average of success for the third year in a row. Additionally, an independent evaluation suggests the program has positively impacted retention rates, setting more students up for success while ultimately saving the school district money. A report from The Ohio State University, which evaluates Reading Recovery implementations throughout the country, found that 80 percent of Sarasota County students who received a full series of lessons last year reached average to above-average levels of reading and writing. The national rate for achieving grade level through the program—which is one of the longest studied and most highly proven early literacy interventions—is approximately 75 percent.

Reading Recovery was introduced in Sarasota County Schools in 2015, with a pilot program at three Title I elementary schools funded by the Keith D. Monda family, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. The next year, with additional support from more Gulf Coast donors, the program grew to all 10 Title I elementary schools. In 2017, Reading Recovery was expanded district-wide with funding from Barancik Foundation and the Sarasota County School Board.

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