A Proven, Early Literacy Intervention

Developed by renowned New Zealand scholar and researcher Marie Clay, Reading Recovery is a short-term, school-based literacy intervention for first-grade students who have extreme difficulty learning to read and write.

Reading Recovery's Key Elements

  • A powerful short-term literacy intervention for first-grade children who are struggling with reading and writing
  • Training and ongoing professional development for educators
  • A long-range plan for school-wide implementation
  • Daily, one-on-one, 30-minute lessons taught by a trained Reading Recovery teacher

Proven Results

  • More than 25 years of documented success with more than two million students
  • Reading Recovery greatly reduces or closes achievement gaps
  • All Reading Recovery students improve their reading and writing skills, and approximately 75% reach their grade level within 20 weeks
  • Reading Recovery is proven to work with English Language Learners
  • The majority of Reading Recovery children sustain their learning gains over time
  • By intervening early, Reading Recovery reduces referrals and placements in special education, limits retention, and has lasting effects
  • The long-term benefits of literacy achievement outweigh the short-term cost of instruction and teacher preparation
  • View Reading Recovery research by the Institute of Education Sciences: What Works Clearinghouse
students collaborating on an assignment

Lesley University: A Designated Reading Recovery University Training Center

Our Center trains Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders, who in turn train and support Reading Recovery Teachers at various regional training sites.

i3 Federal Grant for Reading Recovery

In October 2010, the United States Department of Education awarded a five-year, $45.6 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant to The Ohio State University and an additional $9.1 million raised from the private sector with the goal of scaling up Reading Recovery.

A rigorous independent evaluation of the scale-up was conducted through a collaboration between the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and the Center for Research on Education and Social Policy (CRESP) at the University of Delaware. The national randomized trial involved nearly 7,000 students in 1,200 schools over 4 years. The researchers found that Reading Recovery’s effects were positive and substantial.

Highlights of the study:

  • 3,747 teachers were trained in Reading Recovery. They provided Reading Recovery lessons to almost 62,000 students and served more than 325,000 students in other contexts.
  • Reading Recovery’s effect size is 4.6 times larger than the average effect found in studies of other elementary interventions. The impact was similar for English language learners and students attending rural schools.
  • Reading Recovery students are able to close the achievement gap by the end of first grade, with a growth rate 31% higher than that of average first graders.
  • Several factors at the teacher and school level influence effectiveness, including the instructional strength of teachers, and the commitment and understanding of school leadership.

View the full report for more information.

"Reading Recovery rescues many students who would otherwise fall further and further behind and wind up getting unnecessary special education services and/or continuing in school careers marked by failure and distress. In addition, Reading Recovery teachers are ambassadors of enlightened, research-based, highly effective practices that carry over into their colleagues' classrooms."
Kim Marshall, former principal of the Mather School, Boston, MA, consultant, and author of The Marshall Memo
Contact Us
If you have any questions, please contact the Lesley University Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative.