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Dame Marie Mildred Irwin Clay, DBE, FRSNZ (3 January 1926 – 13 April 2007) was a distinguished reading researcher from New Zealand known for her work in global educational literacy. She was committed to the idea that children who struggle to learn to read and write can be helped with early intervention.

Life and careerEdit

She was born in Wellington, New Zealand. Her given name is pronounced MAH-ree, with the stress on the first syllable. She majored in education at University of New Zealand, earning a bachelor's degree in 1946 and a master's degree in 1948. After studying clinical child psychology at the University of Minnesota as a Fulbright scholar, Clay received her Ph.D. from the University of Auckland in 1966, where she had been on the faculty since 1960.

She developed the Reading Recovery intervention program, which was adopted by all New Zealand schools in 1983. In 1985, teachers and researchers from Ohio State University brought Reading Recovery to the United States. Reading Recovery is an early intervention for at-risk students in grade one that is designed to close gaps within an average of 12–20 weeks. The program is currently used in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, including Department of Defense Schools. To date, Reading Recovery has played a role in the development of over 1.6 million readers in the United States alone.[citation needed]

Although it is very widely used, Reading Recovery is not without its critics. Some researchers, including Diane McGuinness, have raised questions about the efficacy and cost of the program, while also pointing out that Reading Recovery incorporates some ideas and techniques associated with the Whole language approach to reading instruction.

In 1982, Marie Clay was inducted into the International Reading Association's Reading Hall of Fame. In 1987, to recognize Marie Clay's 's service and successful leadership in literacy education, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. In 1992, she was elected president of the International Reading Association and was the first non-North American to hold this position. [citation needed]

Her teachers' guidebook, Reading Recovery: Guidelines for Teachers in Training, has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide. She died in Auckland, New Zealand.[1]

Ohio State UniversityEdit

Faculty at Ohio State first worked with Clay in the early 1980s and she served as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar there in 1984-85. The Ohio State University Board of Trustees approved the Marie Clay Endowed Chair in Reading Recovery and Early Literacy on 4 February 2005.

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • Reading: The patterning of complex behaviour. Auckland, New Zealand: Heinemann. (Other editions 1979, 1985)
  • Becoming Literate: The Construction of Inner Control (Heinemann, 1991)
  • Concepts About Print: What Have Children Learned About the Way We Print Language? (Heinemann, 2000)
  • Change Over Time in Children’s Literacy Development (Heinemann, 2001)
  • By different paths to common outcomes. York, ME: Stenhouse, 1998.
  • Reading Recovery: A guidebook for teachers in training. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1993.
  • Literacy lessons designed for individuals part one: Why? When? And How? Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2005.
  • Literacy lessons designed for individuals part two: Teaching procedures. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2005.


External linksEdit

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