Basic Facts

Basic Facts

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Reading Recovery is a highly effective short-term intervention of one-to-one tutoring for low-achieving first graders.


Reading Recovery serves the lowest-achieving first graders—the students who struggle to catch on to the complexity of reading and writing in their regular classroom instruction.


Students receive a half-hour lesson each school day for 12 to 20 weeks, one-on-one with a specially trained teacher so they can catch up with their peers.

Reading Recovery is the best evidence yet of the direct link between good design and education excellence – 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.

There are two positive outcomes for students:

  1. 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.
  2. The few students who are still having difficulty after a complete intervention are recommended 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.

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, as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Wilson, K. G., & Daviss, B. (1994). Redesigning Education. New York: Teachers College Press.

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Spring 2023