by Stanley L. Swartz and Adria F. Klein

Reading Recovery is an early intervention program designed by Marie M. Clay (1979, 1985) to assist children in first grade who are having difficulty learning to read and write. Children eligible for the program are identified by their classroom teachers as the lowest in their class in reading acquisition. Children who are not taking on reading and writing through regular instruction receive a short-term, individually designed program of instruction that allows them to succeed before they enter a cycle of failure. Reading Recovery is designed to move children in a short time from the bottom of their class to the average, where they can profit from regular classroom instruction.

The goal of Reading Recovery is accelerated learning. Children are expected to make faster than average progress so that they can catch up with other children in their class. Reading Recovery provides one-to-one tutoring, five days per week, 30 minutes a day, by a specially trained teacher. The daily lessons during these 30 minute sessions consist of a variety of reading and writing experiences that are designed to help children develop their own effective strategies for literacy acquisition. Instruction continues until children can read at or above the class average and can continue to learn without later remedial help. Reading Recovery is supplemental to classroom instruction and lasts an average of 12-20 weeks, at the end of which children have developed a self-extending system that uses a variety of strategies to read increasingly difficult text and to independently write their own messages.