Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery® is a short-term early literacy intervention that provides intensive individual instruction for the children with the lowest reading performance in first grade. Students receive 30 minutes of daily individual instruction in reading and writing for a period of 12 to 20 weeks from a highly trained, certified Reading Recovery teacher who teaches Reading Recovery for approximately half of the school day. During the other half of the day the teacher serves as an intervention specialist and works with small groups of students having difficulty in literacy. This structure provides schools with a comprehensive intervention design for extending and sustaining the literacy achievement of K-5 students.

Reading Recovery was developed in New Zealand by Dr. Marie Clay in the mid-1970′s, following extensive observational research on children who were learning to read. In addition to New Zealand, Reading Recovery is currently available in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. In 1991, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock became a Reading Recovery Training Center for Teacher Leaders.

Reading Recovery is the world’s most widely researched intervention for young children having extreme difficulty with early literacy learning. After nearly 30 years of research, Reading Recovery’s effectiveness has been replicated over and over again in hundreds of sites across the United States and abroad. In an era where scientifically-based research is considered a hallmark of effectiveness, Reading Recovery has a record of experimental studies that meet the USDE criteria for scientifically-based research (www.readingrecovery.org/sections/index.asp). Furthermore, Reading Recovery incorporates the components identified by the National Reading Panel as being necessary for effective reading instruction, including phonemic awareness, phonics, guided oral reading, comprehension, and fluency.

In addition to the primary goal of ensuring that students in first grade reach proficiency in reading by the end of first grade, Reading Recovery has other positive outcomes. Reading Recovery serves as a safety net for the lowest achieving children and works as a pre-referral to special education, with many children avoiding placement in special education as a result of the Reading Recovery intervention. An additional positive outcome of Reading Recovery is the reduction in the number of students retained in first grade.

Reading Recovery students maintain their gains after first grade. State studies from Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, Georgia, and South Dakota have reported that Reading Recovery children sustain their gains beyond first grade, as measured by standardized tests.

In schools implementing the Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy (PCL) model, Reading Recovery is a critical component of the design. In Arkansas, Reading Recovery is a partnership between local school districts, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas Educational Service Cooperatives, the Arkansas Department of Education, and the Arkansas State Legislature. These partnerships allow for intensive training for new teachers and teacher leaders along with high-quality professional development in an effort to increase the literacy achievement of struggling readers. Each year, the UALR Center for Literacy publishes an Executive Summary, detailing the results at sites affiliated with the UALR University Training Center.

Additional information about Reading Recovery can be found at www.readingrecovery.org.