Reading Recovery: Basic Facts
“Reading Recovery is the best evidence yet of the direct link between good design and education excellence.”¹
– K.G. Wilson and B. Daviss
The goal of Reading Recovery is to dramatically reduce the number of first-grade students who have extreme difficulty learning to read and write and to reduce the cost of these learners to educational systems.
Reading Recovery is a highly effective short-term intervention of one-to-one tutoring for low-achieving first graders. The intervention is most effective when it is available to all students who need it and is used as a supplement to good classroom teaching.
Reading Recovery serves the lowest-achieving first graders—the students who are not catching on to the complex set of concepts that make reading and writing possible.
Individual students receive a half-hour lesson each school day for 12 to 20 weeks with a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher. As soon as students can meet grade-level expectations and demonstrate that they can continue to work independently in the classroom, their lessons are discontinued, and new students begin individual instruction.
There are two positive outcomes for students:
- Since 1984 when Reading Recovery began in the United States, approximately 75% of students who complete the full 12- to 20-week intervention can meet grade-level expectations in reading and writing. Follow-up studies indicate that most Reading Recovery students also do well on standardized tests and maintain their gains in later years.
- The few students who are still having difficulty after a complete intervention are commended for further evaluation. Recommendations may be made for future support (e.g., classroom support, Title I, LD referral). This category represents a positive, supportive action on behalf of the child and the school. Diagnostic information from Reading Recovery is available to inform decisions about future actions.
Professional development is an essential part of Reading Recovery, utilizing a three-tiered approach that includes teachers, teacher leaders, and university trainers. Professional development for all Reading Recovery professionals begins with an academic year of graduate-level study and continues in subsequent years. With the support of the teacher leader, Reading Recovery teachers develop observational skills and a repertoire of intervention procedures tailored to meet the individual needs of at-risk students.
History of Success
Reading Recovery has a strong tradition of success with the lowest-achieving children. Developed in New Zealand 30 years ago, Reading Recovery now also operates in most states in the United States, the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (domestic and foreign), Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
*Visit the International Data Evaluation Center (IDEC) website for evaluation information at www.idecweb.us.
1Wilson, K. G., & Daviss, B. (1994). Redesigning Education. New York: Teachers College Press.