About us

Reading Recovery started as a focused one-to-one approach to help prevent children's literacy difficulties at an early stage, before they begin to affect the child's educational progress.

It is a proven effective intervention that has helped more than 350,000 children in New Zealand catch up with their classmates, since it was first established.

Building on this success, Reading Recovery has expanded its support framework to provide an all-of-school literacy approach - Early Literacy Support -  which enables more children to access the help they need.

National Reading Recovery is managed by Tui Tuia | Learning Circle  at The University of Auckland Faculty of Education and Social Work Epsom Campus. 

The Ministry of Education contracts us for specific training and quality assurance roles relating to the implementation of Reading Recovery in New Zealand.

These include:

  • training for Reading Recovery Tutors
  • support for the New Zealand Tutor Team, including professional development, visits, resources and advice
  • guidance for the ongoing development of Reading Recovery implementation in New Zealand
  • monitoring and quality assurance
  • advice and information for the Ministry of Education, Universities and other professional and administrative agencies associated with Reading Recovery and its operation.
  • Development and implementation of Early Literacy Support for schools

The design principles of Reading Recovery & Early Literacy Support


Shared intervention between the teacher and the Reading Recovery teacher is key.


Reading Recovery expertise and teacher expertise is jointly acknowledged.


Through collaboration, co-teaching and tailoring the content to students within their school environment, more students can be reached.  


Identified children are provided the opportunity for Early Literacy Support within groups, and if further support is needed a child will have one-on-one Reading Recovery instruction. 


Whānau are consulted to get a rich picture of the child, before teachers co-plan based on the profile of the group of children. Consultation with whānau is ongoing. 


Assessment tools support the processes of designing instruction for the children. Agreed assessments included: Early Print Knowledge, Letter Identification, BURT© Word Reading Test, Writing Vocabulary, Reading Level. 



Celebrating 40th Anniversary at University of Auckland Old Government House.


Early Literacy Support rolled out to 240 schools. New brand launched.


To date, 300,000+ New Zealand children have successfully raised their reading achievement through Reading Recovery.


Evaluation report by Synergia Ltd for the Ministry of Education shows that Reading Recovery makes an effective difference to student outcomes.


Independent research reports find scale-up project funded in 2010 to be "highly successful".


5-year, US$45.6 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant awarded to The Ohio State University to support Reading Recovery training across the USA. Additional $9.1 million private sector match also raised. All 19 US-based Reading Recovery training centers partner in the project.


Dame Prof. Marie Clay transfers Reading Recovery trademarks and her copyrights for all written materials to the Marie Clay Literacy Trust, Auckland, New Zealand.


International Reading Recovery Trainers Organisation finalise international standards for Reading Recovery.


Implementation evaluation by NZCER shows Reading Recovery works best alongside:

  • High levels of implementation relative to need

  • A school-wide literacy strategy where Reading Recovery is integral

  • Strong professional learning communities.


Training for Reading Recovery Tutors introduced in England.


First training for Reading Recovery Trainers in New Zealand, the highest level of expertise in Reading Recovery.


Reading Recovery introduced into the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia.


Reading Recovery introduced to the USA.


National data collection and monitoring procedure established by the Department of Education.


Reading Recovery became available nationally in New Zealand.


First 15 Tutors go through National Tutor Training in Auckland.


Reading Recovery expands to Hamilton.


Senior educational administrators support the training of a further 50 Auckland teachers.


Trials replicated in 48 more Auckland schools, demonstrating positive impacts of Reading Recovery.


Field trials run in five Auckland schools.


Extensive programme of research and development by Marie Clay and colleagues at the University of Auckland.

Mā te ahurei o te tamaiti ā tātou mahi e ārahi.

The thing that guides our work is the uniqueness of each and every child.

International success

The approaches employed in Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support have been shown to be effective in other countries.

In the UK,  the Every Child a Reader programme has demonstrated the effectiveness of taking a three-tier approach of bringing the expertise of Reading Recovery to classrooms, groups, and individuals.*

The approach has also been taken in the USA with research showing the approach is most effective when combined with individual and classroom instruction.**

*   Evaluation of Every Child a Reader 
** Effects in RTI Approaches

What is Reading Recovery?

A one-to-one literacy intervention that helps 6-year-old readers and writers catch up with their classmates.

It has more than 40 years of research and evaluation results. Its effectiveness is supported by the strongest body of evidence for any literacy intervention.

If you would like to learn more about Reading Recovery and why it is deemed one of the most effective literacy interventions in the world, click on the link below:

> Find out more

How does Phonics work with Reading Recovery & Early Literacy Support?

School literacy teams retain complete autonomy over how they design their literacy programmes, and this may include classroom phonics approaches. 

Early Literacy Support complements this by assessing broader aspects of literacy including comprehension of connected or continuous text. It supports classroom teachers to make responsive teaching decisions based on a child’s strengths. Here's what one school had to say about how they are using Early Literacy Support alongside structured phonics: 

“Structured literacy (phonics) is part of what we are doing but not all of what we are doing. That’s because there is no one way of teaching children. The Early Literacy Support (ELS) group provides the flexibility to cater for children’s diversity.  Something that has arisen from ELS and our Junior team’s analysis of 6 year data is that we need to provide more writing opportunities over the week for children in year 1-3. The data shows that writing vocabulary is low and so is HRSW (Hearing and recording sounds in words) across the board, despite the Structured Literacy approach.” 

When a child enters Reading Recovery after a year at school, decoding is one of many areas of literacy that is focused on.

Their Reading Recovery teacher assesses a broad range of literacy development areas such as letter identification, recognised words, writing vocabulary, parts of a book, phonic knowledge, etc.

When phonics knowledge and phonemic awareness are areas that need support, the Reading Recovery teacher has a range of approaches and interventions they will use.  

Get in touch with the Reading Recovery team today!
Whakapā mai / Contact us