Reading Recovery Goals & Lessons

Written by Nicola McCarthy

4 December 2023

Reading Recovery ©  is a licensed, school-based, short-term, early literacy intervention.  

It is designed for children aged around six, who are the lowest literacy achievers after their first year of school. Reading Recovery © involves intensive one-to-one lessons for 30 minutes a day with a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher.

This series of lessons is individually designed for each child, based on moment by moment observations and skilled teacher decisions.

The goal is for children to become effective readers and writers, able to work within the average band of their class at age-appropriate levels of literacy.

The RR teacher creates opportunities for the child to problem solve and provides just enough support to help the child develop strategic behaviors to use on texts in both reading and writing.

The objective of Reading Recovery is to promote accelerated learning so that struggling children catch up with their peers in reading and writing.

In Reading Recovery a typical tutoring session would include each of these activities, usually in the following order, as the format of the daily lesson:

  • reading two or more familiar books
  • rereading yesterday’s new book and taking a running record
  • working with letter identification
  • breaking words into parts
  • holding a conversation
  • writing a story
  • hearing and recording sounds
  • reconstructing the cut-up story
  • listening to the new book introduction
  • reading the new book

Reading Recovery lessons must occur daily. The intensive daily intervention allows the teacher to closely record and engineer the shifts in the child’s responding. Short lessons, held often, are important for success. This allows learning to be carried over from one day to the next. Reading and writing are reciprocal processes. What children learn in reading supports and complements their writing, and vice versa. 

Each lesson consists of reading familiar books, reading yesterday’s new book and taking a running record, working with letters and/or words using magnetic letters, writing a story, assembling and reconstructing a cut-up story, and reading a new book. 

Reading in Reading Recovery

The majority of children are identified for Reading Recovery after their first year of formal schooling (Junior Infants). Whilst these children have learned some letters, sounds and words almost all are unable to apply that knowledge to reading and writing. Children enter the Reading Recovery programme, often unable to read a Level 2 text. With careful observation and expert teaching the children who complete their Reading Recovery series of lessons are capable of reading and understanding a Level 18 text in less than 20 weeks of one to one tuition.

Writing in Reading Recovery

Reading and writing are reciprocal processes. What children learn in reading supports

and complements their writing and vice versa. Writing is an important element of

Reading Recovery. During their daily lessons, children learn how to compose sentences

to write down their own ideas. They are taught explicitly how to use their phonic knowledge

to spell regular words. As children progress they extend their control of more

complex grammatical structures. They are taught more complex or irregular

spelling patterns,

and they build a vocabulary of words they can write automatically in order to become

fluent writers.

 (Sample of Sarah’s Writing)