Responding to Critics

Responding to Critics

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.

Response: Responding To:
The Reading Recovery Community published a series of blogs and fact sheets by Trainers and guest writers in response to the misinformation disseminated throughout the six-part Sold a Story podcast series:

Sold a Story podcast series by Emily Hanford
Response to May Presentation

  • Study Synopsis
  • Challenges and Considerations
Long-Term Impacts of Reading Recovery Through Third and Fourth Grade: A Regression Discontinuity Study From 2011-12 Through 2016-17
May, H, Blakeney, A., Shrestha, M.M & Kennedy, N. (2022)

A presentation at AERA 2022, San Diego, CA.

The Truth About Reading Recovery
Reading Recovery Council of North America (2017)

Full response published in both online and print editions of Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary  Journal, 23(2), 102–118 (np).

The reading wars and Reading Recovery: What educators, families, and taxpayers should know.
Cook, P., Rodes, D. R., & Lipsitz, K. L. (2017). 

Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 22(2), 12–23.

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

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 PDF)
(One-Page Abstract PDF)

Perspectives on Language and Literacy, 37(4) 7-38.
International Dyslexia Association (2011). 
A Think Tank Review of Whole-Language High Jinks
Allington, Richard (Feb. 14, 2007) Education Policy Studies Laboratory.

Published online.

Whole-Language High Jinks: How to Tell When “Scientifically Based Reading Instruction” Isn’t.
Moats, Louisa (2007).

Thomas B. Fordham Institute

A Review of What Research Really Says About Reading Recovery
Reading Recovery Council of North America (August 2006)
Reading Recovery: What do school districts get for their money? A review of the research
Farrall, Melissa. (2006). 

[Wrightslaw online document]

One to One vs. Two-to-One Instruction: A Response to Iversen, Tunmer, and Chapman
Jones, N. (2006)
The effects of varying group size on the Reading Recovery approach to preventive early intervention.
Iversen, S., Tunmer, W., & Chapman, J. (2005).

Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(5), 256–272.

Research Findings and Recommendations: A Response to Elbaum et al. (2000) Meta-Analysis of One-to-One Interventions
Schwartz, R. M. (2005)
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.
Elbaum, B., Vaughn, S. M. T., & Moody, S. W. (2000).

Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(4) 605–619.

What Evidence Says About Reading Recovery
Reading Recovery Council of North America (2002)
Internet letter distributed to members of Congress in Spring 2002
Letter Says Evidence Distorts Research
Signed by 200 academics and literacy scholars (2002)
Internet letter distributed to members of Congress in Spring 2002.

Signed by 31 academics.

Comments in Response to Critics
Pinnell, G. S. (1999)
Reading Recovery: An evaluation of benefits and costs: The claims versus the facts.
Grossen, B., & Coulter, G. 

Published online.

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Fall 2022