Reading Recovery

Program basics

  • Overarching goal is to intervene before students' literacy difficulties become lifelong obstacles
  • Intervention consists of short-term, individualized literacy instruction. Students receive 30 minutes of daily instruction for approximately 12 to 20 weeks
  • Intervention is targeted at first graders having the most difficulty with literacy learning
  • Intervention supplements class instruction and is delivered via carefully designed intensive instructional practices by trained, knowledgeable teachers

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)

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Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse, Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development


Target population

Elementary school-aged children

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Improves reading achievement
  • Improved alphabetics, reading fluency, and reading comprehension
  • Improved alphabetics by an average of 21 percentile points
  • Improved reading fluency by an average of 46 percentile points
  • Improved comprehension by an average of 14 percentile points
  • Improved general reading achievement by an average of 27 percentile points

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Structured processes guide implementation at all levels: working with school systems to implement the intervention, training teachers for problem solving, and monitoring the progress of students.
  • Teacher leaders at all sites have taken courses on implementation theory and practice and continue to explore implementation issues during ongoing professional development sessions.
  • Fidelity of implementation is ensured via documented adherence to formal, organization-wide guidelines and continuous professional development for trainers, teacher leaders, and teachers.
  • Teacher training sites are staffed with coordinators, who help administer the program and support local implementation decisions.
  • The broader Reading Recovery network supports schools and districts as they introduce and implement the intervention.

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