Early intervention makes the difference

The aim of Reading Recovery is to prevent literacy difficulties at an early stage, before they begin to affect a child's educational progress. Usually undertaken with 6-year-olds, it has proven to be an effective intervention for approximately 80% of the children who take part, helping over 300,000 New Zealand readers and writers since it was first established. It also identifies the small number of children who need longer term help.

About Us

The National Reading Recovery Centre 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 for Early Literacy Support for schools.



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, 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 trainers 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.

Our history

Reading Recovery was developed from research undertaken by Professor Marie Clay and colleagues at the University of Auckland, starting in 1977. Successful field trials were run in five Auckland schools in 1978, then replicated in 48 schools the following year.

In 1982, the first National Tutor Training course was run at the National Reading Recovery Centre in Auckland. Fifteen tutors completed that first course. Over the next two years, Reading Recovery was made available nationally to New Zealand schools, analysed and reported annually by the Ministry of Education.

Reading Recovery began internationally in Australia, in 1984, and in 1985, in the USA. Within 10 years, 88,000 students at 5,500 schools across America had successfully experienced it. Reading Recovery expanded to Canada in 1988 and the United Kingdom from 1991.

Sustained success and proven effectiveness

Ongoing research and evaluation in New Zealand and around the world consistently shows how Reading Recovery helps children learn to read and write.

Students are considered to have been effectively helped when they reach average class levels.

In 2019, 74% of children leaving Reading Recovery successfully reached average levels. 17% were referred on for longer term support. The remaining 9% were unable to complete their series of lessons for school or family reasons.

Here are some indicative research reports from both New Zealand and overseas.

> Effective for accelerated literacy learning

Based on 2019 research for the Ministry of Education

> The top proven intervention

Based on 2017 best evidence synthesis from John Hopkins University

> Improves relative performance of Māori and Pasifika children

Based on extensive evaluation produced in 2005 by NZCER

> Highly successful scale-up in the USA

Based on evaluated results from a US$55 million innovation investment

Working together

Success with Reading Recovery comes from teamwork. 6-year-olds finding reading challenging engage in one-to-one learning with specially trained Tutors, supported by their school and their classroom teacher. You can be part of this ongoing success story.

kura /
for schools

kaiako /
for teachers

kaiwhakaako /
for tutors

Your school’s Reading Recovery team can raise reading and writing achievement for approximately 80% of those needing the support most.

If you are an experienced junior class teacher, you can train to make a difference as a specialist Reading Recovery teacher.

As a Tutor, you can play a key role in training teachers to design and deliver individual lessons, helping individual readers, and in building the effectiveness of Reading Recovery across your school.