History of Reading Recovery®

Reading Recovery was developed in the mid – 70’s by Dr. Marie Clay, a New Zealand educator and child psychologist. In 1984, The Ohio State University initiated Reading Recovery in the USA.  Today, Reading Recovery is implemented in 49 states and has served over 2 million children.

founder_marie_clayDr. Marie Clay, a New Zealand developmental psychologist and founder of the Reading Recovery intervention, dedicated her career to identifying and helping struggling readers. Her work profoundly influenced early intervention. In this picture, Dr. Clay discusses implementation issues with South Carolina Teacher Leaders in Savannah, Georgia.

Clemson University was the second university training center established in the USA (1989).   Betty Boseman, Director of Elementary Education in Dorchester District #2, is credited with bringing Reading Recovery to South Carolina.  Dr. Boseman, along with John Kelley from Oconee County School District, formed the State Advisory Council that brought together leaders from Clemson University, the State Department of Education, and various school district administrators. Dr. Joe Yukish, who trained at OSU as a Reading Recovery specialist, became the first Reading Recovery Trainer. Under his leadership, the Teacher Leader training program was developed and the training of Reading Recovery teachers in school districts expanded. Dr. Yukish served as Trainer until 2002.

While the search was conducted for Dr. Yukish’s replacement, Dr. Kathy Headley served as Site Coordinator of the University Training Center (UTC) and directed the center’s responsibilities of providing off-site graduate courses for the Reading Recovery teacher training courses.  She worked with the SC Reading Recovery Advisory Council and State Department of Education to recruit Dr. Susan King – Fullerton to the university as the next Trainer.

Dr. Fullerton joined the faculty at Clemson in 2004.  Dr. Fullerton trained two classes of Teacher Leaders and provided professional development to all the Teacher Leaders.   In an effort to strengthen the quality of Reading Recovery implementations, she developed and hosted Summer Institutes for trained Reading Recovery teachers.   With support from the State Department of Education, she increased the staff at the UTC to include a Teacher Leader in residence and a second Trainer, Georgia Nemeth.  In addition to her work as Director of the Clemson University RR Training Center, Dr. Fullerton is a practitioner and researcher of literacy for the deaf.  She stepped down as the Director in 2007 and is now a Clemson University Reading faculty member.  In the interim, Clemson University in cooperation with the North American Trainers Group, appointed Dr. Floretta Thornton-Reid of Georgia State University to serve the Teacher Leaders in South Carolina as well as train a class of Teacher Leaders for South Carolina and Tennessee.  Dr. Thornton-Reid brought together Teacher Leaders from the GSU and Clemson sites for professional development.

With the assistance of Dr. Bill Fisk, Clemson University conducted a search for a new trainer.  During the 2009-2010 Academic Year, Dr. C.C. Bates attended The Ohio State University where she completed a year of post-doctoral study to prepare for the Reading Recovery Trainer position.  Dr. Bates has research interests in primary classroom practices, early intervention, and use of technology in professional development.  During her tenure at Clemson University, Dr. Bates has trained over twenty Teacher Leaders.  Dr. Bates was integral in helping secure Clemson’s subaward for an i3 Federal Grant for Reading Recovery. The Ohio State University in partnership with 17 other Reading Recovery University Training Centers was one of four recipients (2010-2015) for this scale-up grant, which required the most evidence of effectiveness.  The grant provided for the initial training of Reading Recovery teachers, and brought $2.4 million to the Clemson University Training Center.