Dobbins receives Teacher Leader Award from Reading Recovery Council of North America

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., June 15, 2001 - The Reading Recovery Council of North America (RRCNA) recently presented Missouri educator Jeanine Larson Dobbins with its Teacher Leader Award for her leadership and work on behalf of first-graders in Missouri who have difficulty learning how to read. Dobbins is one of two recipients in North America this year.

The Reading Recovery program encompasses more than 19,000 Reading Recovery educators in the United States and thousands more who are advocates for the program in North America.

This international award comes on the heels of a statewide literacy education award named for Dobbins in March.

"I am very humbled and deeply honored to receive this North American award," Dobbins said. "This award highlights and honors not only my efforts, but also those of Southeast Missouri State University, the State of Missouri and many, many Reading Recovery professionals, whose leadership in literacy education have made our success possible. I share this award with all of them."

Reading Recovery is a highly-effective, short-term intervention of one-on-one tutoring for first-graders having trouble learning to read and write. Individual students receive a half-hour lesson each school day for 12 to 20 weeks with a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher. Nearly 80 percent of students who complete the full series of lessons can read and write within the average range of performance of their class.

Dobbins works as coordinator of the Missouri Statewide Early Literacy Intervention Program (MSELP) administered through Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Thanks to Dobbins' advocacy, tens of thousands of Missouri youngsters have received Reading Recovery lessons and early literacy programs in recent years. In 1997, Dobbins contacted key legislators and the late Gov. Mel Carnahan about the importance of early intervention to prevent reading difficulties. Convinced of the importance of the message, the Missouri budget has provided $1.75 million for early literacy programs in the past four years. These monies were used for professional education of Reading Recovery teacher leaders, teachers, and teachers for small literacy group instruction. In Missouri today, 36 percent of school districts offer Reading Recovery one-to-one instruction for lowest performing first-graders.

Dr. Dan Steska, superintendent of Cape Girardeau Public Schools, endorsed the award for Dobbins.

"I can think of no one who has had the long-term and widespread influence that Jeanine Dobbins has in assuring that every child has the opportunity to benefit from a quality reading instruction program. She literally created a safety net for success for these children throughout our area."

The teacher leader awards are presented annually to persons who have made "extraordinary contributions to advance Reading Recovery beyond the local level." The award was presented at the Reading Recovery Teacher Leader Institute held in San Diego June 6-9. The RRCNA vision is that all children will be proficient readers and writers by the end of first grade. Tammy Crouse, Reading Recovery teacher leader in Poplar Bluff, Mo., nominated Dobbins for the award.