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We ensure that children who struggle in learning to read and write gain the skills for a literate and productive future.

For RRCNA Leadership


Reading Recovery is a scientifically based early literacy intervention used in the United States since 1984.


Because it is widely studied and well known, Reading Recovery has drawn criticism from a small but vocal minority who hold differing views about the beginning reading process.

Although critics often quote research, advocates can be confident that the vast majority of research evidence supports Reading Recovery. These links provide needed detail to respond to those critics.

Read more about research & evaluation

What Works Clearinghouse
Continued Progress
Reviews of Research
Cost Effectiveness
Responding to Critics
Data Evaluation: IDEC
Measuring Outcomes


Responding to Critics

Schwartz, R. M. (September 2015)
Ideology and Early Literacy Evidence: Response to Chapman & Tunmer (2015)

Response to:
Chapman, J. W., & Tunmer, W. E. (2015, July). The literacy performance of ex-Reading Recovery students between two and four years following participation on the program: Is this intervention effective for students with early reading difficulties? Paper presented at the 39th Annual Conference of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities (IARLD), Vancouver, Canada.

Dispelling Misrepresentations and Misconceptions About Reading Recovery
Reading Recovery Council of North America (Feb. 1, 2012)
(Full Response) (One-Page Abstract)

Response to:
International Dyslexia Association (2011). Perspectives on Language and Literacy, 37(4) 7-38.

Allington, Richard (Feb. 14, 2007)
Think Tank Review of Whole-Language High Jinks
Education Policy Studies Laboratory. Published online.

Response to:
Moats, Louisa (2007). Whole-Language High Jinks: How to Tell When "Scientifically Based Reading Instruction" Isn't. Thomas B. Fordham Institute

A Review of What Research Really Says About Reading Recovery
Reading Recovery Council of North America (2006)

Response to:
Farrall, M. (2006, February 7). Reading Recovery: What Do School Districts Get for Their Money? A Review of the Research. Wrightslaw Website newsletter posting.

Jones, N. (2006)
One to One vs. Two-to-One Instruction: A Response to Iversen, Tunmer, and Chapman

Response to:
Iversen, S., Tunmer, W., & Chapman, J. (2005). The effects of varying group size on the Reading Recovery approach to preventive early intervention. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(5), 256–272.

Schwartz, R. M. (2005)
Research Findings and Recommendations: A Response to Elbaum et al. (2000) Meta-Analysis of One-to-One Interventions

Response to:
Elbaum, B., Vaughn, S. M. T., & Moody, S. W. (2000). How effective are one-to-one tutoring programs in reading for elementary students at risk for reading failure? A meta-analysis of the intervention research. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(4) 605–619.

Schwartz, R. M. (2005)
The Effectiveness of Early-Intervention Tutoring Programs—When is a Research Brief Too Brief?

Response to:
The effectiveness of early-intervention tutoring programs on student reading achievement. (2005, April 26). ASCD Research Brief.

What Evidence Says About Reading Recovery
Reading Recovery Council of North America (2002)

Response to:
Internet letter distributed to members of Congress in Spring 2002

Letter Says Evidence Distorts Research
Signed by 200 academics and literacy scholars (2002)

Response to:
Internet letter distributed to members of Congress in Spring 2002. Signed by 31 academics.

Pinnell, G. S. (1999)
Comments in Response to Critics

Response to:
Grossen, B., & Coulter, G. Reading Recovery: An evaluation of benefits and costs: The claims versus the facts. Published online.

Response to Investors Business Daily editorial
Open letters to the editor and comments from Reading Recovery professionals (1999)

Response to:
When education theories go bad. (1999, April 1). Investors Business Daily.