Reading Recovery Australia works in partnership with schools to ensure the competencies necessary for a literate future for all young children.

Whole school approach

The effective implementation of Reading Recovery requires a whole-school, team approach. Teachers, in conjunction with the Principal and school team, make a commitment to maintaining:

  • the quality of Reading Recovery as it operates within the school
  • the underlying fundamental principles of Reading Recovery, including daily teaching of children selected to participate in the Reading Recovery
  • shared responsibility in reducing reading failure within the school, by support from the whole school community
  • support for the teacher during training and in subsequent years
  • adequate researching to ensure effective implementation and operation of Reading Recovery
  • effective monitoring of students once they have ceased Reading Recovery.
  • consultation with parents / guardians and class teachers during the course of Reading Recovery including the observation and discussion of lessons.

Research based

Reading Recovery is founded on research spanning several decades and is one of the most researched literacy interventions worldwide. Designed to reduce the incidence of reading and writing difficulties in Year 1 and 2 students, it provides a second chance at literacy learning.

Over a 12-20-week period, students receive one-on-one instruction delivered by a specialist Reading Recovery teacher for 30-minutes each day. For these students, the goals of instruction are to:

  • temporarily accelerate their progress;
  • permanently lift their levels of achievement; and,
  • build a sound foundation for subsequent literacy learning.

Reading Recovery enables schools to differentiate between students who would benefit from a short-term literacy intervention and those with special learning needs who might require ongoing learning support.

Typically, students engaged in Reading Recovery make accelerated progress and catch up to their peers. Individualised instruction is discontinued when teachers determine that students have acquired a self-extending system of basic reading and writing competencies.

A few students who have completed a full series of lessons make good progress but fail to develop the self-extending system that would help them to avoid later literacy difficulties. These students are referred for further specialist instruction.

whole-school approach
Working together with teachers


The What Works Clearinghouse (U.S. Department of Education) and Evidence for Impact (E4i) (Institute for Effective Education, U.K) have rated Reading Recovery in the top 10% of early intervention strategies in terms of impact.

Reading Recovery teachers are school literacy leaders

Reading Recovery is implemented by highly skilled professionals. Through intensive and ongoing professional learning and a deep understanding of literacy processing, Reading Recovery teachers become literacy leaders and agents of literacy improvement in their schools. In collaboration with their school leadership team, they work to lift the capacity of classroom teachers and achieve increased literacy outcomes for all students.

Cost Effectiveness

In Reading Recovery, the long-term benefits of literacy achievement may significantly outweigh the short-term cost of instruction and teacher preparation.

Given the competing demands on education budgets at the federal, state, and local levels, it is important to address literacy learning in cost-effective ways. To date, however, no cost-effective analysis comparing alternative early literacy interventions has been conducted (for example, small-group instruction with one-to-one instruction).

By intervening early, Reading Recovery reduces referrals and placements in special education, limits retention, and has lasting effects.

The local cost of providing Reading Recovery services for 12 to 20 weeks will be substantially less than those for retention and special education, particularly when the majority of Reading Recovery children sustain their learning gains.

How does Reading Recovery benefit my school?

Reading Recovery is a school based early literacy intervention that provides a second opportunity for students who, after one year at school, have not yet established effective reading and writing processes.

Benefits of Reading Recovery

  • Success for students involved in the intervention
  • Reduction of literacy difficulties in the school
  • Cost effectiveness: prevention costs less than long term intervention.
  • Early literacy intervention
  • Aimed at the lowest 10 – 20%
  • A second chance
  • Supplementary to classroom activities
  • Teaching is aimed at the student’s strengths
  • The path of progress for each student will be different

Team approach

  • Early Identification
  • Individual Help
  • Different intervention for each student            
  • Comprehending messages
  • Whole school commitment
  • Shared responsibility
  • Adequate resourcing
  • On-going monitoring of students

Individual approach

  • Intensive, daily, 30-minute lessons
  • Teacher and student work together on authentic texts
  • Teaching focuses on the needs of the student
  • In addition to classroom teaching
  • Based on the student’s strengths
  • Aims for rapid progress (not just improvement)
  • The focus is on teaching the student ‘how to’ use strategies
  • The focus is to support the student in becoming an independent problem solver on text
  • The student reads whole texts
  • The student writes whole texts


  • One student receiving a maximum of 20 weeks on Reading Recovery
  • 20 weeks x 5 lessons = 100 lessons
  • 100 lessons x 30 minutes = 50 hours
  • 50 hours = 2 weeks of school learning time