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What is Reading Recovery?

What is Reading Recovery?

"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.


Individual students receive a half-hour lesson each school day for 12 to 20 weeks with a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher.  During a short-term instructional intervention, children make faster-than-average (i.e. accelerated) progress that permits them to catch up to their peers and continue to work on their own within an average group setting in a regular program.  As soon as students can meet grade-level expectations and demonstrate that they can continue to work independently in the classroom, their lessons are discontinued, and new students begin individual instruction.  Results indicate that Reading Recovery and Descubriendo la Lectura meet the challenge of closing the gap early before a cycle of failure begins.


There are two positive outcomes for students:

  • Each year, approximately 75% of students who complete the full 12 to 20 week intervention can meet grade-level expectations in reading and writing.
  • 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.  Through using data about each student's response to the intervention, Reading Recovery informs decisions about future actions.

History of Success

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, the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (domestic and foreign), Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools, as well as New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.


*Visit the International Data Evaluation Center website for evaluation information at