Jacobson Center celebrates 25 years of Reading Recovery in Iowa

Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Nicki McGowan, instructor and Reading Recovery teacher leader, Richard O. Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy, 319-273-2053,

Amelia Holden-McMurray, College of Education, 319-273-3214,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy will host a reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 20, in the Commons Georgian Lounge and Slife Ballroom on UNI's campus to celebrate 25 years of Reading Recovery in Iowa.

The program has impacted nearly 80,000 first-grade students in Iowa who struggle with reading and writing in school. It prepares teacher leaders in a post-masters certificated program. The teacher leaders, in turn, prepare Reading Recovery teachers who identify and work with the lowest-performing students. There are 19 Reading Recovery teacher leaders in 12 sites across Iowa, as well as one site in Minnesota and one in Nebraska that are affiliated with the University of Northern Iowa.

"The impact of the Reading Recovery Program in Iowa is significant and undeniable," said Salli Forbes, director of the Jacobson Center. "We are excited to celebrate this important milestone for the program, the state and the children who have accelerated their literacy progress with Reading Recovery instruction. Thanks to this early intervention, many of these young people have grown into successful students and adults."

Reading Recovery began in Iowa in the fall of 1990 when Lavonne Mann, Des Moines Public School district, began preparation to become a Reading Recovery teacher leader. The Reading Recovery Program of Iowa was established at UNI in 2008 under the leadership of William Callahan and Penny Beed. Salli Farbes was hired as the director and trainer of the Reading Recovery Program of Iowa at UNI in January 2009. Paul Bennet joined the program as a Reading Recovery trainer in August 2014. Since that time, many people have played important roles in developing and scaling up the implementation of Reading Recovery across the state.

To learn more about the Richard O. Jacobson Center or the Reading Recovery program, visit