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Marie Clay: A Leader in Literacy Research

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Maria Reyes

on 25 October 2015

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Transcript of Marie Clay: A Leader in Literacy Research

"Her emphasis on early intervention, observation and one-to-one support, together with her insights on the processes of reading, made her influence on literacy teachers and researchers profound and extensive", impacting literacy research and teaching internationally ("Marie Clay 1926-2007", 2007, p. 115).

This work significantly changed how researchers and teachers began to observe, understand, and help struggling readers.

The publishing of her dissertation,
Emergent Reading Behavior
, may have led to her being "credited with coining the term 'emergent literacy' (Teale & Sulzby, 1986)" (Pinnell & Fountas, 2006, p. 366).
Running Records are a valuable tool which helps teachers diagnose how a student attacks a reading task in both skills and comprehension. This informs the teacher's next steps in intervention or challenge, depending on the student. Today they are a standard tool used by many teachers.
"Observant teachers not only discover new behaviors and changes in behaviors but also think about children's learning in new ways" (Clay,1982, p. 92).
Through careful observations and anecdotal records we are constantly making decisions and adjustments to our teaching. These observations help us to determine if a child is using decoding, semantic, meaning, or a combination of these cues to navigate an unknown text. That knowledge allows us to differentiate our instruction.
"I think introducing new texts which young children are going to read demands great skill" (Clay, 1991, p. 264).
Relevant Events
Major Contributions and Reading Recovery
Classroom Applications
Marie Clay: A
Leader in Literacy

Maria Reyes
EDRD 554

Accolades
1978 - Awarded the International Citation of Merit at the IRA World Congress of Reading
1982 - Inducting into the International Reading Association's Reading Hall of Fame
1983 - Recipient of the Mackie Medal in Education from the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science
1987 - Made Dame Commander of the British Empire
1993 - Co-recipient of Dana Award (with Gay Su Pinnell) for Pioneering Achievements in Education
1994 - Named New Zealander of the Year
1999 - Voted the most influential person of the past three decades at the National Reading Conference of America
Recieved honorary doctorates from over 5 overseas universities

Published Books
1926 - Born in New Zealand
1960 - Joins the University of Auckland's Education Department
1966 - Earned PhD on a Fulbright scholarship
1972 - Developed Concepts About Print test and Runnig Records to observe young readers
1975 - Becomes New Zealand's first female professor
1976 - Begins research that will lead to the development of the Reading Recovery program
1983 - Reading Recovery is adopted by all New Zealand schools
1985 - Reading Recovery comes to the U.S.
1992 - Elected president of the International Reading Association
2007 - Died at the age of 81
Accolades
1978 - Awarded the International Citation of Merit at the IRA World Congress of Reading
1982 - Inducting into the International Reading Association's Reading Hall of Fame
1983 - Recipient of the Mackie Medal in Education from the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science
1987 - Made Dame Commander of the British Empire
1993 - Co-recipient of Dana Award (with Gay Su Pinnell) for Pioneering Achievements in Education
1994 - Named New Zealander of the Year
1999 - Voted the most influential person of the past three decades at the National Reading Conference of America
Recieved honorary doctorates from over 5 overseas universities

Published Books
Rather than focus on what strategies young students were lacking when participating in literacy taks, Marie Clay focused on what behaviors they
did
have in their backpack of tools, a "profound shift that led to new thinking" (Pinnell & Foutas, 2006, p. 364).

"In Reading Recovery, roaming around the known means that for several weeks, the learner and teacher stay within tasks such as the level of texts used for reading that are familiar" (McNaughton, 2014, P. 89). Through observations and support, the teacher scaffolds and guides the learner to increasingly challenging texts and tasks.
6 Tasks for Systematically Observing Literacy Behaviors
letter identification
concepts about print
word test
writing vocabulary
hearing sounds in words
running records
(Pinnell & Fountas, 2006)
As teachers, we take prereading activities seriously. We need to provide those same strategies in preparation for students' independent reading tasks as well, "providing a rich introduction to the story" (Clay, 1991, p. 264). These may include picture walks, vocabulary frontloading, etc. and can be done in large or small groups depending on the needs of the students and the task.
Marie Clay
Contemporary Researcher
Born in New Zealand in 1926, she went on to become a scholar, teacher, researcher, author, and international expert in literacy. Her work has filled numerous journals and shaped how we view emergent literacy today.
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