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By the beginning of 2004, Reading Recovery has unparalleled evaluation results, a solid research base, and a network of universities and teacher training sites across North America. Despite this evidence of success, Reading Recovery faces a challenging political and funding environment. Responding to these threats, RRCNA publishes Changing Futures: The Influence of Reading Recovery in the United States. A 2005 study by Robert Schwartz updates and strengthens Reading Recovery’s research evidence. Also in 2005, Marie Clay completes two new books titled Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals, Part One: Why, When and How and Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals, Part Two: Teaching Procedures.

From 2005 through the end of 2007, RRCNA and other reading programs will file complaints and submit evidence to the USDE Office of the Inspector General documenting abuse of power in the billion dollar Reading First funding program. The complaints result in five federal reports released in 2006 and 2007. The reports find mismanagement, bias, and “substantial financial ties with educational publishers” in the implementation of Reading First.

Sadly, Reading Recovery’s founder, Marie Clay, dies in 2007. Her death, unexpected for most who knew her, is widely reported and her contributions to literacy education are praised on three continents. Her work continues to guide teachers and researchers across the world. (Read more about Marie Clay and her impact on early literacy.)

Also in 2007, the USDE’s What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) completes a review of Reading Recovery research and awards positive or potentially positive ratings across all four domains – alphabetics, fluency, comprehension, and general reading achievement. In subsequent 2008 and 2013 WWC reviews, recognition of these research-proven results remains strong.

In 2010, in recognition of the body of evidence of Reading Recovery’s effectiveness, the USDE’s Office of Innovation awards a $45.6 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant to scale up Reading Recovery across the United States. This will be the second USDE-funded scale up of Reading Recovery in the U.S. (the first began in 1987). The Ohio State University will lead this scale up with Jerome D’Agostino as principal investigator. OSU and its 18 partner university training centers raise $10 million from the private sector to support the grant’s activities; exceeding the grant’s required 20% match by $1 million. By the end of 2014, in the final year of the grant, the Reading Recovery scale-up project is on target to not only meet but exceed grant goals. Over 3,740 new teachers have been trained and an additional 50 teacher leaders added to the national network.

As Reading Recovery’s third decade comes to a close, the i3 scale-up not only raises the prominence of Reading Recovery in the national education community, but also sets the stage for the next decade of the intervention’s implementation. After 30 years in the United States, more than 50,000 teachers have reached more than 2.2 million children in Reading Recovery lessons. In Canada, nearly 200,000 students have had Reading Recovery lessons. In addition, millions more students have been taught by Reading Recovery-trained teachers in other school settings.


This 30th Anniversary History Timeline includes photos and excerpts from previous RRCNA publications.