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Reading Recovery has more than 30 years of research and evaluation results: the strongest body of evidence for any literacy intervention.

New Zealand research

Watson, B., & Askew, B. (Eds.). (2009). Boundless horizons: Marie Clay's search for the possible in children's literacy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Original reports from four years of development and field trial research in New Zealand are republished along with two follow-up studies, an analysis of lesson content, a three-year follow-up and a subgroups study (pp. 35-100).

Timperley, H., Wilson, A., Barrar, H., & Fung, I. (2007). Teacher Professional Learning and Development: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES)
Reports that Reading Recovery has an achievement effect size of 3.73. An effect size greater than 0.60 is considered to be a large, educationally significant impact.

Click here to view report

McDowall, S., Boyd, S., & Hodgen, E. with van Vliet, T. (2005). Reading Recovery in New Zealand: Uptake, implementation, and outcomes, especially in relation to Maori and Pasifika children.
Comprehensive evaluation research by NZCER found that the intervention was effective for most students. Maori and Pasifika students entered Reading Recovery with lower initial scores; these differences were reduced by the time the series of lessons ended.

See for the executive summary and for the full report.

Recent and on-going international evaluations

The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) (2013). Evaluation of the i3 scale-up of Reading Recovery: Year one report
CPRE is conducting an independent evaluation of a US Department of Education funded project to scale up Reading Recovery across the US across 5 years (2010-2015). Early results for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years demonstrate 'large positive effects on student literacy performance overall, and these positive effects were also large for ELL students and students in rural schools' (p. 137).

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What Works Clearinghouse (Updated 2013). Reading Recovery WWC intervention report.
The WWC, a branch of the United States Department of Education (USDE) assess research on beginning reading curricula and instructional strategies for students from kindergarten through third grade. WWC has reviewed studies for 175 programmes in the beginning reading category, and only 26 meet their rigorous standards. Among all programmes reviewed, Reading Recovery received the highest rating in general reading achievement, and positive or potentially positive ratings across all domains of early reading achievement examined in the review.

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Every Child a Chance Trust (2009). The long term costs of literacy difficulties.
The report details the cost savings that would accrue to the public purse by the system-wide implementation of Reading Recovery in England and Wales.

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Burroughs-Lange,S., & Douetil, J. (2005-2006). Every child a reader: An evaluation of Reading Recovery in London schools.
The researchers found that 'children without access to RR had made little progress in learning and the gap between them and their peers had widened considerably by the end of the year' (p. 24).

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Schwartz, R. M. (2005). Literacy learning of at-risk first-grade students in the Reading Recovery early intervention. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(2), 257-267.
Schwartz demonstrated the effectiveness of Reading Recovery using a random assignment research design.


D'Agostino, J. V., & Murphy, J. A. (2004). A meta-analysis of Reading Recovery in United States schools. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 26(1), 23-38.
This analysis found strong positive effects for Reading Recovery and has been included on the U.S. Department of Education's list of 'Gold Standard' findings.

Monitoring and reporting outcomes in every country

New Zealand: The New Zealand Ministry of Education collects data online from school on the progress and outcomes for every child. An annual report is published by Education Counts, a research division of the Ministry of Education on the website

Click here to view the publications Annual Monitoring of Reading Recovery

United States: The International Data Evaluation Centre (IDEC), Ohio State University, collects outcome data from all Reading Recovery and Descubriendo La Lectura (Spanish language) sites annually and publishes comprehensive technical reports on their website

United Kingdom: Department for Education (2011). Evaluation of every child a reader (EcaR) showed that Reading Recovery has a positive impact on pupils.

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Investigative Research

Schmitt, M. C., et. al. (2005). Changing futures: The influence of Reading Recovery in the United States. Worthington, OH: Reading Recovery Council of North America.
Includes historical, theoretical and implementation chapters along with a catalogue and review of Reading Recovery research.

Clay, M. (2001). Change over time in children's literacy development. Auckland, New Zealand: Scholastic.
Has a comprehensive reference list of research studies and investigation. See pages 311-323 along with Clay's comments and suggestions for future research on pages 245-281.

The Reading Recovery Council of North America, RRCNA publishes an extensive range of reference and research material including the Journal of Reading Recovery and an earlier publication Literacy Teaching and Learning: An International Journal of Early Literacy. See

National Reading Recovery, 74 Epsom Ave, Auckland, New Zealand.