E4I focus on Reading Recovery

Posted on 11 April 2018

The next intervention we will be taking a closer look at from Evidence4Impact is Reading Recovery – this intervention was developed by New Zealand researcher and educator Dame Marie M Clay.

Reading Recovery has been rated as ‘strong’ for primary reading. This is the highest possible rating and lets educators know that the intervention has a good chance of improving pupils’ outcomes if implemented as designed.

Reading Recovery is a short-term early intervention tutoring programme aimed at struggling readers in KS1 (the lowest achieving 20%). The goals of Reading Recovery are to identify literacy learning difficulties early, provide one-to-one teaching tailored to pupils’ individual needs, catch them up to the level of their classroom peers quickly, within 12 to 20 weeks and thereby reduce the number of pupils who are struggling to read at the end of KS1. This in turn reduces the incidence of long-term reading difficulties.

The What Works Clearinghouse found Reading Recovery to have positive effects on alphabetic and phonemic knowledge and general reading achievement, and potentially positive effects on fluency and comprehension.

Seven studies have evidence eligible for inclusion in E4I; this includes two evaluated in the UK. The studies found a mean effect size of +0.25 for primary reading.

One study,(Boroughs-Lange and Douëtil, 2007), followed up on children’s literacy in London schools in 2005-6 a year or more after Reading Recovery had been received. At the end of the year the literacy of the children who had received Reading Recovery was in line with their chronological age. The comparison group was 14 months behind. In July 2007, the literacy achievement was again compared of those same children. At the end of Year 2 the children who had received Reading Recovery in Year 1 were achieving within or above their chronological age on all measures and still around a year ahead of the comparison group children.

Reading Recovery Europe is available in the UK through the International Literacy Centre which is part of the Institute of Education at University College London.


  1. Natalie
    April 11, 2018 at 3:44 pm
    Fantastic recognition for this empowering intervention and subsequent success for our lowest readers and oftern most vulnerable children . Let’s hope that the Government support it by continuing with funding for these experienced teachers delivering the daily lessons and documenting the impact . RR teacher in an authority where cuts are limiting its continuation in many school.
  2. Jose Coles
    April 13, 2018 at 10:00 am
    We have known this for many years. Reading Recovery changes lives!
  3. Phoebe Ingraham
    April 17, 2018 at 9:30 pm
    I'm so thrilled to see more recognition on the powerful effects of Reading Recovery. If you question this, or do not know this intervention, I encourage you to visit a university class and witness for yourself the impact of this learning for teachers and their students.
  4. Debbie Miles
    April 20, 2018 at 4:11 pm
    Can you please share this with the Education Select Committee ? Reading Recovery Schools across the Country know about the impact of this invaluable intervention but Schools are struggling to maintain the implementation due to budget cuts. Every Child should be entitled to this provision.
  5. Debbie Blake-iacchini
    April 27, 2018 at 1:49 pm
    The research has clearly shown this over time; yet so many public school decision makers are not research oriented, nor early literacy trained. Our youngest learners deserve the best of the best to secure future opportunities!

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