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Reading Recovery

What is Reading Recovery?

  • Reading Recovery is a research-based, short-term intervention of one-to-one teaching for the lowest-achieving first graders.
  • In Reading Recovery, students receive 30-minute lessons each school day for 12 to 20 weeks from a specially trained teacher.
  • As soon as students can read and write at grade level and demonstrate that they can continue to achieve, their lessons are discontinued and new students receive individual instruction.

What can Reading Recovery do for my child?

  • A key premise of Reading Recovery is that early intervention in first grade is critical. Research shows that children who fall behind in Grade 1 tend to remain below grade level in later school years.
  • Early intervention is important because the gap between the lowest- and highest performing children is narrow in lower grades but widens later in elementary school.
  • Numerous studies have examined the effectiveness of Reading Recovery for children with reading difficulties.
  • Since 1984 when Reading Recovery began in the United States, about 8 of 10 students with a full series of lessons met the criteria for successful first-grade reading and writing.
  • Although all children progress during their Reading Recovery lessons, a few do not make the accelerated progress needed to succeed without extra help. These children may be recommended for additional evaluation.

What happens during Reading Recovery lessons?

Each lesson consists of:

  • Re-reading familiar stories,
  • Reading a story that was read for the first time the day before,
  • Working with letters and words using magnetic letters,
  • Writing a story,
  • Assembling a cut-up story, and
  • Reading a new book.

The teacher teaches, demonstrates problem-solving strategies, and provides just enough support to help the child develop effective reading and writing strategies and work as independently as possible.

Each Reading Recovery lesson incorporates the five components identified by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act as essential in a comprehensive instructional program in reading. The five components are

  • phonemic awareness,
  • phonics instruction,
  • fluency instruction,
  • vocabulary instruction, and
  • text comprehension instruction.

Accelerated learning is possible because Reading Recovery teachers base their instruction on carefully documented daily observations of what each child already knows about reading and writing. This is an efficient approach that allows all future instruction to work from the child’s strengths.

Please see the resources listed in the column on the right for more information about Reading Recovery and tips to support your child become a better reader and writer.

To contact a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader:

Michael Buonaiuto
Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Cambridge Site

Beth Mayhew
Reading Recovery Teacher Leader