Helping kaiako to support positive readers and writers

Reading Recovery is a school-based early literacy intervention. It provides skilled one-to-one teaching to help children who have made slow progress with literacy learning in their first year of school. It allows the children to take positive steps, supported by their kaiako and whānau, towards becoming confident in their reading and writing.

The delivery mode: teach children, not programmes

Rather than a method of class or group instruction, Reading Recovery is an intervention that fits the individual needs of each child.

Reading Recovery sits alongside any classroom-based programme or approach to teaching reading and writing. It provides intensive supplementary teaching for children who are not progressing well with classroom learning. Schools can opt to implement one-to-one, individually designed lessons delivered by Reading Recovery teachers.

Experienced junior class teachers undertake an initial year of training, followed by ongoing support. They will usually teach individual children for half a day, spending the other half of the day as a class teacher or in another teaching role.

Usually, Reading Recovery teachers will return to full time teaching after 3-5 years and use what they have learned to extend their capability in the classroom and lift literacy achievement in their school.

Want to know more? Download our INFORMATION SHEET.

The theory underpinning Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery is based on a theory of literacy processing. In Reading Recovery lessons, a child will develop effective ways of picking up and working with information in print. They learn how to self monitor their reading, correct errors, and solve problems by searching for several different kinds of information. They also learn how to compose and write stories of increasing complexity.

Reading Recovery is based on the ground-breaking work by Professor Marie Clay at the University of Auckland to understand how children develop literacy skills.

The theory of literacy processing pays close attention to:

  • a child’s ability to hear the sounds in spoken language (their growing phonological awareness);

  • their knowledge of letters and printed words;

  • their knowledge about how to use the relationships between sound and letter sequences;

  • the language structures and the meaning of the story.

The teacher's role in the Reading Recovery lesson is to guide the child “to pay particular attention to four kinds of information the young readers must become aware of and learn to work with. Different kinds of information may be checked, one against another, to confirm a response or as a first step towards further searching” (Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals, Second Edition, 2016. p129)

In the early stages of literacy development, children use a number of sources of information to bring together the words on a page, and the meanings that the words deliver. From visual information, the sounds the letters make, the way the words are put together and whether it makes sense to the child based on their experience and knowledge of the world around them.

This diagram summarises what a reader’s brain needs to do. It shows how children combine different sources of information to make sense of the words on the page.

Diagram source: Clay, 2016, Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals Second Edition, page 129
How can a school get started?
  • Contact your regional Reading Recovery Tutor to understand what’s available.

  • Contact your regional Reading Recovery Officer at the Ministry of Education.

  • Contact your local Reading Recovery Tutor to find an experienced Reading Recovery Teacher or identify a junior class teacher to train.

For more information, GET IN TOUCH.

New Zealand Reading Recovery Guidelines

Reading Recovery Guidelines inform and support those who are responsible for implementing effective Reading Recovery. The Guidelines set out what is needed to ensure all children taking part receive the best possible assistance.

The Guidelines also set out the requirements for training and ongoing professional development for Reading Recovery Teachers, Tutors and Trainers; and for the effective implementation of Reading Recovery in schools. They are based on research on the most effective practices for early literacy intervention.


National Tutor Team

We have a team of 25 Reading Recovery Tutors providing inservice training and ongoing support for Reading Recovery in schools. They are employed by providers contracted to the Ministry of Education - the University of Auckland, the University of Waikato and the University of Otago - with professional oversight from the National Reading Recovery Centre.

Tutors are based at our regional Reading Recovery Centres. Tutors provide training and support at sub-centres in more distant areas. Centres and sub-centres are specially designed and equipped to allow for observation and discussion of live teaching sessions.