reading recovery information for families

Families are your child’s first literacy teachers. Most children do not need specialist Reading Recovery teaching. They learn in dynamic classrooms that have authentic literacy learning tasks with good first teaching.

If your child needs the best early literacy teaching intervention, designed and taught by professional teachers, in your community and at your school, how is it available to you?

How does Reading Recovery work?

Your child has lessons specially designed for his or her literacy needs, not a class, or a group.

Short 30-minute lessons occur in school time in the familiar space of your school.

A specially trained and qualified primary school teacher, who your child knows well, plans your child’s intervention and teaches your child.

Your child will learn how to read and write to average levels expected in Year One, so that he or she fits in with most children in his or her class.

A Reading Recovery intervention takes between 12-20 weeks. This is not long. 20 weeks of daily 30-minute lessons, is 50 hours of individually tailored tutoring. It is equivalent to two weeks of a primary school teacher’s face-to-face teaching time. The time is spread-out because most of the children are 6 years of age.

The majority of children taught in Reading Recovery reach class-level expectations.

Long-term literacy support or specialist assessments are recommended after your child has this short catch-up learning opportunity, if needed.

After completing lessons, students can:

  • Read increasingly more challenging books, expanding their ability to learn themselves and solve unknown words as they read and write.
  • Compose and write increasingly complex messages, using additional resources all children use, that are available in their classrooms.
  • Continue to learn with supportive classroom instruction.
Feedback from a former Reading Recovery student

How is Reading Recovery made available to my child?

The school Principal, together with the leadership team, decide whether Reading Recovery is made available at your school.

You can talk to the Principal, the Parents and Friends association, and interested parents to arrange to train a Reading Recovery teacher so that this skilled person is available when needed at your school.

Tutors train Reading Recovery teachers. Tutors are university accredited trainers and facilitators.

Frequently asked questions

How do I find out my child can have the Reading Recovery intervention?

You are contacted by the school informing you of this wonderful opportunity. You will be invited to come to the school to meet with your child’s Reading Recovery teacher, to find out all about it and ask any questions.

What happens in a Reading Recovery lesson?

Your child will read, write, and use magnetic letters to learn about letters and words. One third of the lesson will involve your child writing his or her own messages. In this time, he or she will learn how to hear and record sounds in words and spell words. In reading, your child will learn how to read well on familiar books and how to problem-solve words on new books.

What do I do to support my child on Reading Recovery?

The teacher will talk with you about homework she proposes to send home and how often this will be. She will also explain how you engage with your child at home.

What is the most important thing I need to do to support my child whilst he or she is on Reading Recovery?

The most important thing is to make sure that your child comes to school for his or her Reading Recovery lesson every day. Learning by small children involves small daily increments – little steps.  

How do I keep in contact with my child’s Reading Recovery teacher?

You will be able to talk informally and formally with your child’s Reading Recovery teacher.

How will the Reading Recovery teacher and the classroom teacher work together for my child?

The teachers will support each other’s work, for the benefit of your child. The most important learning outcome is that your child can participate well in his or her class at the end of the intervention.  

What happens after Reading Recovery for my child? How do I support this?

The school will sensitively and regularly monitor your child’s continued literacy learning.  The classroom teacher will suggest how you can support your child at home.

Will Reading Recovery be suitable for my child who speaks another language than English at home?


Can I see a Reading Recovery lesson?

Yes, you are very welcome. Reading Recovery teachers may invite you to observe your child being taught a lesson.

My child has a diagnosis; can my child have Reading Recovery?



Laying the Foundations of Connection to School: Engaging Children in Early Literacy Learning

Parent testimonials

“I don’t think I can find words in the dictionary that translates into the love and appreciation we have for what you have done for our Gabriel. His life has transformed into something we never thought was possible.  His love of reading and writing has always been there, but his frustration, when he could not read the words on the page became a constant roadblock. His passion, ability, confidence, and knowledge has now extended so much further into other parts of his life. Please pass on our high regards for the ‘Reading Recovery’ program, it saved our son!”
—NSW Parent

“Dear Principal, I would just like to leave a bit of feedback in regard to the Reading Recovery program. We have had difficulty teaching Anne reading and writing and also keeping her interested. With the introduction of Reading Recovery, Anne has dramatically improved her skills and we are thankful. The program is amazing and its fantastic for children who have difficulty reading. Once again the Reading Recovery teacher is doing an incredible job and please pass on our many thanks.”
—VIC Parent

“My son was identified at the beginning of Year 1 to begin the Reading Recovery Program after struggling with reading and writing in kindergarten and starting on a reading level that was well below the majority of other students in his class. He lacked confidence as a result and this began to impact all his school work. The program was fantastic and by the end of year 1 he has gone up nearly 17 reading levels! It is such a valuable educational tool and has totally transformed his self-esteem, outlook and overall interest in learning.  His spelling has also improved significantly and he now enjoys reading every night.”
—NSW Parent

“We are very grateful to the Reading Recovery program for providing our daughter with the one-on-one education that she needed to improve her reading and writing. Ruby felt comfortable and safe and knew that she was in an environment completely tailored to her learning needs.”
—NSW parent

“Our 6 year old son participated in the Reading Recovery program for one term and over this time his reading and writing improved significantly as did his enjoyment of reading. He never showed any reluctance towards the sessions or the exercises set for him to complete at home, in fact he thoroughly enjoyed them. Both his teacher and the program were great and we have no hesitation in recommending the program.”