1. Does Reading Recovery teach phonics?

Yes. Reading Recovery teachers give specific and explicit attention to letters, sounds, and words, both while reading and writing extended text and as direct instruction. In the Reading Recovery lesson children study letters and connect them to sounds through working with magnetic letters, building words, and making personalized alphabet books. Teachers help children learn to visually discriminate letters. Students take words apart and make new words by adding, deleting, or substituting letters. In a comprehensive review of research on beginning reading instruction, Marilyn Adams stated that Reading Recovery, along with several other programs, is “designed to develop thorough appreciation of phonics” (Adams, M. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press p. 421).

2. How are children selected for the Reading Recovery program?

In consultation with classroom teachers, the Reading Recovery teacher identifies individual children who need a check on performance, administers the Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, and selects the lowest children for participation in Reading Recovery. The Observation Survey is an assessment tool comprised of six measures that assess a student’s reading and writing competencies. The children selected are the lowest achieving in the first grade classroom, not excluding anyone. Marie Clay has stated that exceptions are not made for children of lower intelligence, for second-language children, for children with low language skills, for children with poor motor coordination, for children who seem immature, for children who score poorly on readiness measures, or for children who have already been categorized by someone else as learning disabled (Standards and Guidelines of the Reading Recovery Council of North America).

3. Is Reading Recovery a classroom program?

No. Reading Recovery is not an approach that can be generalized to classrooms or small group teaching. It is a specific approach to prevent literacy problems and is targeted to a limited number of learners within a classroom program. During the Reading Recovery intervention the teacher works from the individual child’s knowledge and responses in a one-to-one setting. Individual, rather than group learning, is essential because with group instruction, the teacher has to choose a compromise path or a next move for the group. Reading Recovery, in combination with strong classroom instruction, gives children the best chance for success.

4. I teach in a school that does not have Reading Recovery. What can I do to get this program in my school?

You can get your school or district administrators interested in the program. We would be happy to provide information to you, your principal or other administrators.

5. I am a college student interested in the program. Are there courses in Reading Recovery that I can take?

To be trained as a Reading Recovery teacher you must be currently teaching in a district that either has Reading Recovery and wants staff to be trained or is interested in having additional staff trained in this program.

6. I am not currently teaching but I am planning to resume teaching in the near future. How can I get involved in this program?

You cannot be trained in Reading Recovery independently of a school or a school system. If you are interested in learning more about Reading Recovery you can look for several books by the founder of Reading Recovery, Dr. Marie Clay. These books are a wonderful resource and are used in the training of Reading Recovery teachers.

7. My six year old is having trouble reading but the school that he/she goes to doesn’t have Reading Recovery. Do you offer tutoring?

We do not offer private tutoring or evaluation through the Reading Recovery Training Center because Reading Recovery is a school-based program. We suggest you contact your child’s principal or the school’s literacy coach for information on how to bring the Reading Recovery program to your child’s school.