What Works Clearinghouse

Reading Recovery achieves strong results and ranks highest in evidence of effectiveness

2019 WWC Ratings GraphicThe What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), an initiative of USDE’s Institute of Education Sciences, is a central, trusted source of information for decision makers. Established in 2002, the WWC reviews and assesses research evidence for educational programs, products, practices, and policies.

The WWC publishes intervention reports that assess research on beginning reading curricula and instructional strategies for students from kindergarten through third grade. To date, WWC has reviewed research studies for more than 228 programs in the beginning reading (K-3) domain. Only 56 of those programs had evidence of positive or potentially positive effects on at least one outcome measure.

The WWC translates effect sizes from research into an improvement index to reflect the change in a student’s percentile rank that can be expected if the student receives the intervention. Administrators use these index ratings to make informed decisions while selecting the right programs for their schools and districts.

Reading Recovery’s evidence
Reading Recovery achieved strong results, receiving positive or potentially positive ratings across all four outcomes — alphabetics (phonics and phonemic awareness), fluency, comprehension, and reading achievement. Among programs reviewed, Reading Recovery received the highest improvement index in reading achievement and fluency.*

These ratings include the addition of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) single study review of the four-year i3 scale-up report. The study has not yet been incorporated into the Reading Recovery beginning reading intervention report, last updated in 2013. Ratings were calculated following procedures in the WWC Handbook 4.0.

The inclusion of this study increases the outcome domains of alphabetics, comprehension, and reading achievement to the category of ‘medium to large’ and increases the rating for the alphabetics and comprehension outcomes from ‘potentially positive’ to ‘positive.’

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Fall 2023