Reading Recovery has more than 40 years of research and evaluation results. Its effectiveness is supported by the strongest body of evidence for any literacy intervention. On this page you can access a selection of the large number of available resources and reports.
Developed in New Zealand, Reading Recovery is one of the most extensively researched early literacy interventions in the world. The evidence from both New Zealand and overseas has shown it is an effective intervention with a high success rate. In short, it works.
A 2005 NZCER evaluation found that Reading Recovery was well-established in New Zealand schools and was considered cost-effective by those schools offering it. The majority of schools who did not have Reading Recovery said they would do so in the future.
Success in diverse settings
There are detailed case studies of schools where Reading Recovery has operated very effectively with diverse populations. Key features for success have been identified as:
- High levels of implementation relative to need
- Reading Recovery an integral part of the school-wide literacy strategy
- Strong professional learning communities with Reading Recovery teachers playing an important role.
Sustainable outcomes for learners
Reading Recovery is designed to catch children up with their classmates, helping 6-year-olds become competent 7-year-old readers and writers. Schools continue to monitor student progress following Reading Recovery to ensure their ongoing success and to provide additional support when it is needed.
A 2019 evaluation of Reading Recovery produced for the Ministry of Education identified it as being effective in improving literacy levels for children engaged in the intervention. There was also evidence that these benefits are sustained for children with the lowest literacy levels. The evaluation also showed that Reading Recovery teachers were highly valued, as was the national training.
A best evidence synthesis by Professor Slavin at John Hopkins University placed Reading Recovery at the top of a list of 24 proven interventions for struggling readers. It achieved this strong standing using criteria developed for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
A meta-analysis by D’Agostino & Harmey (2016) found that Reading Recovery had an average effect size of .59 across the 16 experimental and quasi-experimental studies that met the stringent criteria for inclusion.