5d. Reading Recovery

Kristi Gerig, Jan Perry, and Leanette Spencer
The University of Georgia

Review of Reading Recovery

Click Here to play a narrated PowerPoint overview of the Reading Recovery method. If you would like to see a transcript of the audio, click here to download script as a word document. This summary was created by Joy Drzyzga (2007).
This video provides an overview of the application of the Reading Recovery method as an instructional model. The video reviews the steps in the Reading Recovery process, and highlights the functions of the teacher who serves as a facilitator. This video was created by Rebecca Bennett, Anne Craven, and LaRhonda Ware (2010).


Eric is a first grade student at Camelot Elementary, a large school that serves a diverse population of 1200 students. It is classified as a school on the “urban fringe” (being neither completely urban nor suburban). The school receives Title I support because of the large number of students who qualify for either free or reduced lunch. There are ten first grade classrooms within the school, and Eric is one of two hundred first graders. He has recently transferred to Camelot Elementary from another local county school where he completed his kindergarten year.

At the beginning of his first grade year, his teacher, Ms. Smith, ranked him in the bottom third of her class based on quick, informal observations on both reading and writing tasks. Often, he could not do tasks assigned to the entire class. For the majority of the day, he was off task and his behavior was slowly beginning to deteriorate. It appeared to Ms. Smith that Eric did not know all of the letters of the alphabet or the sound associated with these letters. When asked to write about his summer, Eric turned in a paper with a picture of a swimming pool with random letters across the page. During a quick reading check, Ms. Smith observed that Eric could read a level one book. However, the average reader in her class could read a level four book. By the end of the year, Eric will be expected to read at least a level sixteen book accurately with both fluency and comprehension. Ms. Smith, concerned about Eric’s lack of progress, is afraid that he is “at-risk” for reading failure.

In order to prevent this from occurring, Ms. Smith ranked Eric as one of the lowest performing students in her class and then gave this list to Ms. Jones, one of the school’s four trained Reading Recovery (RR) teachers. Ms. Jones, along with the other three RR teachers, begins to observe more carefully the reading and writing behaviors of the bottom 20 percent of first grade students. Then the RR teachers administer the Observation Survey (OS) on an individual basis to their list of 45 slowly progressing first grade students. (Please see the Observation Survey section below for more information on the tasks given.)

While observing Eric during the OS, Ms. Jones noticed and recorded Eric’s strengths in reading and writing as well as any confusions or deficits he demonstrated. After assessing all slowly progressing students, the RR teachers then selected the students with the lowest scores on the OS to work with regardless of perceived intelligence, English proficiency, or potential learning disabilities (Clay & Cazden, 1990). Ms. Jones selected Eric as one of the four RR students she will serve.

Over the course of the next 12-20 weeks, Ms. Jones will meet with Eric for 30 minutes each day for one-on-one sessions. Sessions are designed to supplement learning that is occurring in the classroom, not replace such learning. Ms. Jones will take what Eric knows about both reading and writing, and she will design lessons that build upon his strengths. As a RR teacher, it is Ms. Jones’s goal to accelerate Eric’s rate of learning. She will help him develop effective and efficient strategies for both reading and writing in order for him to reach the average reading level of his classroom by the end of twenty weeks (Clay, 1991). The following is a list some of the strategies suggested by Clay that Ms. Jones may use to help Eric develop:

  • using early strategies such as on- to-one matching and monitoring on known words,
  • predicting,
  • using picture cues to decipher meaning,
  • anticipating language structure,
  • making links to Eric’s knowledge about the world,
  • monitoring by rereading,
  • cross checking sources of information (see the theories section for more detailed information),
  • searching the text for further cues,
  • self-correcting when cues do not match,
  • reading with fluency and expression, and
  • problem solving with accuracy and flexibility.

During this extensive process, Ms. Jones will scaffold Eric’s learning and help him to develop a self-extending system so that he can become an independent reader and writer (Clay, 2005a).

A Theory of Learning to Read

In order to understand Reading Recovery (RR) and the careful ways in which teachers scaffold children throughout the program, it is important to have a clear picture of the theoretical framework under which all trained RR teachers operate. According to Clay (2005a), the theorist who designed the program, reading is a “message getting, problem-solving activity.” (p.1) Alternatively, Clay notes, writing is a “message sending, problem-solving activity.” (p.1)

The processes that a child uses to either receive or send a message are complex, not easily observed, and different from child to child (Clay, 2005a). Furthermore, according to Cox and Hopkins (2006), it is Clay’s belief that children construct their own understanding of the reading process and in addition, bring a wealth of prior knowledge to the task. Indeed, the young learner has already mastered oral language learning, whether or not it is the language used in the classroom, by the time he or she enters kindergarten (Clay, 2005a).

Tied to the fact that learners come to literacy tasks with various backgrounds and knowledge is the belief that children progress through literacy learning by different paths (Clay, 1998). What the child attends to in reading can vary greatly from child to child. Therefore, individualizing learning for slow progressing students is essential. In addition, Clay (2001) sees the act of learning to read as involving change over time. Teachers must be careful observers of this change and must be equipped to make moment-by-moment teaching decisions that support the child’s change and new learning.

There are two final theoretical principles on which RR is based. First, reading and writing are connected processes and should be performed in conjunction with each other. Learning in one aspect of literacy supports learning in the other. Second, children learn how to read and write by participating in authentic reading and writing tasks on continuous texts (Cox & Hopkins, 2006).

To further understand the reading process as a message getting activity, it is vital to understand what sources of information a child uses when attempting to retrieve a message from text. Clay believes that readers must constantly monitor and integrate information from a variety of sources (Clay, 2005; Clay & Cazden, 1990). A strategic reader uses multiple sources of information in flexible ways during the reading process in order to derive understanding from the text. These sources include the following:

  • meaning cues (both from within the text and from the reader’s own knowledge of how the world works),
  • structure cues (making the text semantically correct based on the rules of the given language), and
  • visual cues (understanding and applying text layout, directionality, and as letter/sound correspondence).

As stated previously, high progress literacy learners are proficient users of strategic activities. These learners use strategies in order to solve problems quickly in both reading and writing tasks. Such readers and writers learn more about both processes each time they participate in reading and writing tasks. Low progress readers, on the other hand, tend to rely on limited strategy use or isolated item knowledge that is not helpful for solving problems (Clay & Cazden, 1990). The purpose of the RR program, therefore, is to scaffold an individual’s reading process and to teach low progress readers how to effectively use the previously mentioned sources of information to gain meaning from the text. Clear links to Vygotsky, social constructivism, and scaffolding can be seen in evaluating the theoretical framework underlying the RR program.

Observation Survey

Click Here to play a narrated PowerPoint presentation that summarizes the Observational Survey. If you would like to see a transcript of the audio, click here to download the script as a word document. This summary was created by Joy Drzyzga, Aperil Sellers, and Sam Simon (2007).

With a clear picture of the theories upon which Reading Recovery relies, a further look at the Observation Survey is necessary. Below, each task is explained in detail and a short summary is given describing Eric’s behaviors on the task. Further information about this assessment can be found in Clay’s (2002) book An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement.

  • Letter identification: This task requires a child to identify 54 letters – 26 uppercase letters, 26 lower case letters, and a printer’s “a” and “g” letters. The child receives a correct score if he or she can identify a letter by either letter name, the sound the letter makes, or by a word that starts with that letter.
    • On this task, Eric was able to correctly identify 40 letters, mostly by letter name. He confused m with w, b with d, and t with f. He was unable to identify the following letters: r, q, e, K, k, v, V, e, z, and the printer’s “a” and “g.”
  • Word test: On this task, the child is presented with a list of 20 high frequency words. The child receives a correct score for any word he can identify upon sight. The observer also notes responses given and later analyzes these responses in terms of what the child can do at the word level.
    • On this task, Eric was able to identify the word “yes” correctly. On all other words, his response included a word that started like the word on the task. For example, for the word “and,” he said “apple,” and for the word “the,” he said “tiger.” This indicates that Eric is attending to the first part of a word and further suggests that he knows what a word is as evidenced by his giving a word for each word presented rather than providing just a letter.
  • Concepts about print: During this task, the observer records what a child knows about print. The observer reads a specially prepared book and asks the child questions that encompass early reading strategies such as directionality, one-to-one matching, visual scanning behaviors, letter and word knowledge, and specific concepts about punctuation.
Click Here to play a narrated PowerPoint presentation that summarizes the Concepts of Print portion of the Observational Survey. If you would like to see a transcript of the audio, click here to download the script as a pdf document. This summary was created by Joy Drzyzga, Aperil Sellers, and Sam Simon (2007).
    • On this task, Eric demonstrated that he knew that the message was contained in the print and where to start reading on a page. He identified the front of the book and the meaning of a period correctly. Additionally, he was able to identify a letter and a word. Finally, he could point out a capital letter. However, he was unable to demonstrate some early literacy concepts such as left to right directionality, return sweep, and word-by-word matching. Furthermore, he demonstrated very little visual scanning or specific concepts about punctuation.
  • Writing vocabulary: This task assesses what is known or is partially known about writing words. The observer allows the child to write all the words that he knows within a ten-minute time limit. The observer gives prompts if the child cannot think of words spontaneously. The observer not only looks for words the child knows, but also how the child handles using space, directionality, and letter formation during the writing task.
    • Eric was able to write three words on this task. He could write his name and the words “I” and “a.” When prompted to write other words, he sometimes wrote the beginning letter or dominate sounds in that word. On other words, he wrote letters out of sequence. For instance, when asked to write “cat,” he wrote “CTA.” This demonstrates that Eric is beginning to learn some things about some specific words.
  • Hearing and recording sounds in words: This is another task where the child is asked to write. The observer reads 1-2 sentences and asks the child to write the story, allowing him to write what he hears. This is not a test of spelling, but rather a test of hearing and correctly recording sounds in words. A score is given for every sound the child records correctly. Again, the observer not only looks for sounds the child can analyze and record, but how the child handles using space, directionality, and letter formation during the writing task.
    • Eric was able to correctly hear and record 12 out of 37 sounds. Ms. Jones again noticed that he mostly wrote the beginning or the dominant sound in words. During writing, she observed that the majority of the time he used upper case letters. He was able to form the letters he knew quickly and automatically. He did not demonstrate directionality in writing as evidenced by writing words randomly across the page.
  • Text reading level: The final task of the Observation Survey involves taking a running record on texts that increase in difficultly. The first few texts are patterned and have strong picture cues. During the running record, the observer notes the accuracy with which the book is read, as well as any behaviors that are presented, such as finger pointing, directionality, one-to-one matching, and fluency. If a child can read a text with at least 90 percent accuracy, the observer presents another, slightly more difficult, text for the child to read. The observer ceases this activity after the child has read two books that are at his frustrational level.
    • During text reading, Eric was able to read a level 1 text with 92 percent accuracy. He demonstrated a good memory for text by being able to repeat the pattern of the text given to him. While reading, Ms. Jones noted that he did not say one word for every word printed on the page. However, he was able to gather much of his meaning from checking the picture cues.

After giving Eric the Observation Survey, Ms. Jones now has a good idea about Eric’s emerging literacy behaviors. She has a record of what he knows and how he demonstrated it across several different literacy tasks. She has a strong sense of his confusions at the letter, word, and text levels. By focusing on his strengths, rather than his weaknesses, she has a good starting point from which she can begin scaffolding his literacy learning (Clay, 2002).

Reading Recovery teachers are trained to give the Observation Survey during a week-long Observation Survey Institute that precedes their official training year. During this week, teachers learn the purpose of each task, what things to observe during the task, and how to correctly score each task. The week includes demonstrations by a trained teacher giving the OS as well as opportunities for new Reading Recovery teachers to practice giving the OS to students. At the end of this institute, novice teachers are then able to sum up what a student knows in a concise yet detailed Observation Survey Summary.

Roaming Around the Known

For the first two weeks of the child’s program, the teacher begins with a period that is called Roaming Around the Known. During this time, Ms. Jones will only work with what Eric knows as evidenced by the Observation Survey. She will not specifically introduce any new learning, but will instead carefully record anything new the child discovers during this time period. During these two weeks, Ms. Jones and Eric will have an opportunity to work together and get to know each other better. Eric will be introduced to the authentic reading and writing tasks that he will be expected to perform as lessons progress. Ms. Jones can discover things that Eric knows that he did not have the opportunity to express during the Observation Survey. She can also confirm what he does know, how well he knows it, and the circumstances in which he knows it (Clay, 2005a).

Lesson Format in Relation to Scaffolding

After the period of “roaming,” Ms. Jones will introduce Eric to the typical lesson format. While this framework remains the same for all RR students, the lessons are quite different. Each RR teacher specifically designs lessons around what each individual child knows, how the child responds to new learning, and what the child needs to learn in order to be successful as the teacher “ups the ante” (Clay, 2005b). Rodgers (2004/2005) specifically states in her work that there is no script for teaching during a RR lesson. In fact, Clay states the following in her Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals Part Two: Teaching Procedures:

There are no set teaching sequences; there is no prescription to learn this before that. A highly appropriate recommendation for one child could be an unnecessary one for another child. The teacher must select the activities needed by a particular child after working with him, observing his responses, and thinking about what he needs to learn next. We do not want to see a child spending time on activities that are not moving him forward or lifting the complexity of what he can do. (p.2, 2005b)

In Reading Recovery, the child and the tutor need to develop a working relationship where the tutor is an astute observer and careful designer of a child’s program. In turn, the child must understand the goal of their time together and must become an active participant in both reading and writing tasks. This closely relates to the features of scaffolding, where the teacher understands the learner in such detail that shared goals are set, intentional assistance is given, and an optimal level of help is achieved. In other words, the task, whether reading or writing, must retain some challenges and problem solving tasks without becoming too difficult.

With that in mind, both Clay (2005b) and Hobsbaum & Peters (1996) describe a typical lesson format:

  • The child rereads familiar books from previous days. These books are carefully chosen from a wide range of quality published material. During this time, the teacher praises the child when he uses new strategies and encourages reading with fluency, expression, and phrasing. During early lessons, the teacher might model such behavior for the child to replicate.
    • During a typical lesson with Eric, Ms. Jones listens to him read familiar stories. Eric is allowed to choose the books that he reads during this time from a limited selection planned by Ms. Jones. In early lessons, Ms. Jones praises him when he stops reading because he notices a mismatch of what he says and what is actually printed on the page. She notes in her lesson records that although he cannot correct the problem by himself, he is beginning to monitor his reading. In later lessons, Ms. Jones praises him for not only monitoring his reading, but also for self-correcting “tricky” words.
  • Next, the child reads a book that was introduced and read once the day before. The teacher switches roles at this point from teacher back to being an observer. She takes a running record of the child’s reading behaviors and later analyzes this record according to what sources of information (meaning, structure, or visual cues) the child is using or neglecting.
    • Ms. Jones takes a daily running record of Eric’s work. During this time, she records all of his reading behaviors and makes careful notes regarding his change over time. This assessment guides her teaching. After this daily reading, she is able to praise him on the use of new strategies and teaches him to use strategies that he is neglecting. As Eric reads each new level of text easily, Ms. Jones moves him quickly up text levels. Her goal is to move him one level each week.
  • For a brief period of time, no longer than 2 or 3 minutes, the child works on letters and, as lessons progress over time, words. The student works with magnetic letters. This gives the learner the opportunity to manipulate the letters easily in order to sort letters, make new high frequency words, or learn words by analogy (going from known words to new words).
    • During early lessons, Ms. Jones assists Eric with letter learning. She introduces new letters slowly and is careful to not introduce letters that Eric confuses (in his case, perhaps the “b” and the “d”) during the same lesson. When she shifts to word work, she shows Eric how to make new words from words he knows. For instance, when Eric demonstrates that he knows the word “is” during writing, she can use this time to teach him how to go from “is” to “it” and “in” by changing the end of the word.
  • Afterwards, the child and the teacher compose a story of a sentence or two in a journal. The journal is made up of blank pages and opens so that there is a practice page on the top and a page for writing the story on the bottom. The story is negotiated after a meaningful conversation involving both parties. The teacher/student partners work together and “share the pen” in order to compose the story. The child writes what he knows, and the teacher fills in the rest. As time progresses, the child is expected to compose most of the story independently. During the writing time, the teacher carefully chooses one or two new things to work on within the practice page. This may take the form of writing new letters with a model, taking high frequency words to fluency, writing new words by sound/letter analysis, or by writing words by analogy.
    • A typical story might be written after Eric and Ms. Jones have a discussion about what has happened in Eric’s life. For example, after Eric’s birthday, which occurred in the mid-point of his program, his story might be “ I got a new bike for my birthday.” Ms. Jones would expect him to write the words “I” and “a” independently and quickly. She may help him analyze the sounds in “got” by using sound boxes. Here, she would use the practice page in his journal to draw three boxes, giving him a visual scaffold of the word. Eric’s job would be to say the word slowly and fill in the boxes with the correct letters for the sounds he hears in the word. Most likely, Ms. Jones would assist with trickier words such as “new” and “birthday,” expecting him to only write the sounds he hears, while she fills in the harder parts. Finally, if “or” has become a known word at this point in lessons, she would teach him that he could add an “f” to the beginning of the word “or” to make “for.” Again, this work would be done on the practice page.
  • Next, the teacher takes the message and constructs a cut-up sentence from it. The child’s task is to rearrange the pieces of the story to create the complete text again. As time progresses, this task becomes more challenging. The teacher starts out by cutting the story up word by word. However, across time, she may choose to cut up the words by parts, using onsets and rimes or some other means of breaking words apart.
    • Using the above story, Ms. Jones would write, “I got a new bike for my birthday.” on a sentence strip. Because Eric has progressed in lessons, she may cut it up the story in the following manner:

I/ got/ a/ new/ b/ike/ f/or/ my/ birthday/./

Eric would have to therefore focus his attention on putting the story back in just the right manner. After completing the task, he would re-read his story one more time in order to check for accuracy. The cut up story is then sent home in an envelope as part of his Reading Recovery homework.

  • In the next part of the lesson, the teacher introduces a new text to the student. Before the lesson, the teacher chooses this book with great care and much reflection as to where the child needs to go next and what new learning should be occurring. The new text should offer some opportunities for the child to do some reading work but should not be so difficult that the reading process breaks down and the child must resort to unhelpful reading strategies. During book introduction, the teacher anticipates the “tricky parts” of the books (unfamiliar text structures or new vocabulary) and points them out as the teacher and the pupil engage in conversation surrounding the book.
    • During early lessons, Ms. Jones would assist Eric by planting the repeated pattern of the text during the book introduction. She would point out that the pictures match what the text states. For example, in the book Mom, they might have the following conversation:

Ms. Jones: “This is a story about the things mom is doing. On this page, “Mom is cooking” (actual text). Oh, and look, on the next page, “Mom is driving.” Let’s look at the next page. What is mom doing here?”

Eric: “Mom is running.”

Ms. Jones: “That’s right. “Mom is running.” And that is what the book says – “Mom is running.” Let’s read this page with your finger touching each word.”

Eric (reading): “Mom is running.”

Such a conversation would continue throughout the book. As lessons progress, Ms. Jones would give similar book introductions with support that gradually fades.

  • In the final lesson component, the child engages in reading the new book. During this time, the teacher praises the child’s use of strategies as the student monitors his own reading and makes self-corrections. When the child requires additional support, the teacher uses precise, concise prompts, minimizing teacher talk, in order for the child to achieve success. Across lessons, the books become more challenging, and the teacher support during the new book reading gradually fades. As with writing, the child is expected to take on more of the task independently.
    • As Eric reads the above book, Mom, Ms. Jones notices and records his reading behavior on her lesson record. She observes that Eric stops and checks the picture on the page where the text states, “Mom is sleeping.” She may praise him by saying, “I like the way you checked your picture. That helped you figure out that tricky word, ‘sleeping.’ You made the story make sense.”

As lessons progress and Eric is able to draw from a larger store of learned strategies, the teacher would no longer praise him for checking pictures, a strategy that he has well under control. Instead, she would praise him or help him with new strategy usage. For instance, during the mid-point of his program on the same day that he writes the birthday story, Eric’s new book may contain the sentence, “Dad and Rachel and Lucky went to the store.” When Eric finds the part of the word “store” that he knows (“or” in this case), Ms. Jones praises his self-correction in this manner: “You said ‘shop.’ That made sense, but it didn’t look right. You found the part of the word you knew, ‘or,’ and fixed it to ‘store.’ You made it look right.”

In their work on scaffolding, Wood and Wood (1996) do a thorough job of synthesizing a review of the literature on scaffolding in general. They point out the effective features of scaffolding that have come out of both research and practice. They state that tutors provide a “bridge” between what the child knows and what the child needs to learn. They also say that the tutor provides the structure needed to support the learner’s problem solving abilities. In addition, they assert that a crucial point of scaffolding involves the learner taking an active role in the learning process from the start. Finally, they point out that the responsibility for negotiating the task gradually shifts from the tutor to the learner.

In reviewing the daily format for RR lessons above, it is evident that RR provides an excellent model for effective scaffolding. During a child’s program, the RR teacher continually strives to stay on the “leading edge of the child’s learning,” working within a child’s Zone of Proximal Development, thus providing the bridge. The tutor also provides the child with the language and prompts necessary to create his own system of metacognitive analysis. In addition, there is a gradual release of support (or fading) as lessons progress and the child develops his own problem solving system. Finally, as evidenced by even the very first “Roaming Around the Known” session, active learning is a continuous expectation for students involved in the RR program (Hobsbaum & Peters, 1996: Rodgers, 2004/2005).


After participating in RR, Eric successfully exited the program following 16 weeks of lessons with Ms. Jones. This means that, as a first round student, he participated in 30-minute daily sessions from August until early December. At this point, Ms. Jones assessed his learning again by giving him the Observation Survey. His growth in both reading and writing has been tremendous. On text level reading, he is now reading at level 12 both on the Observation Survey and within the realm of his classroom. This is just above the average level of his peers in his class. In writing, he has a core of 52 known high frequency words as evidenced by the Writing Vocabulary task. According to the Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words task, Eric can correctly identify 35 out of 37 sounds.

His teacher, Ms. Smith, reports that she has seen a tremendous improvement in both behavior and time on task. Eric shows enthusiasm for schoolwork and claims that he “loves to read.” Ms. Smith, who once considered him a candidate for possible retention, no longer has concerns about his reading and writing ability. His parents confirm Eric’s increased enthusiasm for reading and say that he even chooses to read books over other activities during free moments at home. Eric has now developed a self-extending system that will allow him to continue his reading and writing growth independent from the Reading Recovery teacher.

While not working with him on a daily basis any longer, Ms. Jones will monitor his progress in the classroom and will give the Observation Survey to him again at the end of the year. She should expect to see a continued trend of growth on all tasks given. This check of progress will continue throughout Eric’s elementary school years. At the conclusion of each year, she will listen to him read and take a running record to make sure that he remains on grade level with his peers.


As seen in the scenario and its conclusion, the benefits of Reading Recovery are countless. Some of the most obvious are highlighted below:

  • Students who participate in the program benefit from an increase in metacognitive growth (Cox, Fang, & Schmitt, 1998).
  • Students who participate in RR are less likely to be retained in first grade (Lyons & Beaver, 1995).
  • Reading Recovery significantly reduces the number of referrals and placements to special education (O’Conner & Simic, 2002).
  • Reading Recovery acts as a pre-referral to special education for those students who continue to need further, long-term assistance (O’Conner & Simic, 2002).


As with any educational program, however, Reading Recovery has both its drawbacks and its vocal critics. The following is a list from Tumner and Chapman (2003) that outlines some of the potential challenges this program presents:

  • Critics feel that Clay’s theory of reading has shortcomings. They argue that too much emphasis is placed on meaning and not enough emphasis is place on phonological skills.
  • Opponents state that text reading levels, determined by running records, are an unreliable measure of reading achievement.
  • Furthermore, they believe that reading instruction should provide “at-risk” readers with less strategy learning and more direct, systematic instruction.
  • Finally, critics argue that the “one-to-one” model of instruction is inefficient and costly.

Seemingly, a difference of opinion about reading instruction lies at the heart of the above anxieties. Theoretically, the Reading Recovery program best matches other chapters on scaffolding and constructivism rather than an isolated “skill and drill” model of learning to read. In other words, at the risk of an initial outlay of cost, Reading Recovery truly implements best practices as it works with struggling young readers.

Of the concerns mentioned above, opponents highlight the cost of implementation as the most pressing. Critics feel that the cost to train and employ teachers who work with only one student at a time is too great. However, when considering the alternatives of long-term remediation, retention, or placement in special education, the cost of early intervention seems insignificant. According to O’Conner and Simic (2002), Slavin states it best in the following parable about children who live in a community near a cliff:

The town has to make a decision whether to put up a fence to prevent children from falling off the cliff or place an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff to provide services only after the children have been hurt. If this situation is compared with most school policies, it becomes apparent that schools have opted to provide the ambulance; in other words, only providing services to children after they have failed academically. (p. 636)


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Clay, M. M. (1998). By different paths to common outcomes. York, ME: Stenhouse.

Clay, M. M. (2001). Change over time in children’s literacy achievement. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Clay, M. M. (2002). An observation survey of early literacy achievement (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Clay, M. M. (2005a). Literacy lessons designed for individuals part one: Why? When? and How? Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Clay, M. M. (2005b). Literacy lessons designed for individuals part two: Teaching procedures. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Clay, M. M., & Cazden, C.B. (1990). A Vygotskian interpretation of Reading Recovery. In L. Moll (Ed.), Vygotsky and education (pp. 206-222). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Cox, B. E., Fang, Z., & Schmitt, M. C. (1998). At-risk children’s metacognitive growth during Reading Recovery experience: A Vygotskian interpretation. Literacy Teaching and Learning 3(1), 55-76.

Cox, B. E., & Hopkins, C. J. (2006). Building on theoretical principles gleaned from Reading Recovery to inform classroom practice. Reading Research Quarterly, 41(2), 254-267.

Hobsbaum, A., & Peters, S. (1996). Scaffolding in Reading Recovery. Oxford Review of Education, 22(1), 17-35.

Lyons, C. A., & Beaver, J. (1995). Reducing retention and learning disability placement through Reading Recovery: An educationally sound cost-effective choice. In R.I. Allington & S.A. Walmsley (Eds.), No quick fix: Rethinking literacy programs in America’s elementary schools (pp. 116-136). New York: Teachers College Press.

O’Connor, E. A., & Simic, O. (2002). The effect of Reading Recovery on special education referrals and placements. Psychology in the Schools, 39(6), 635-646.

Rodgers, E. M. (2004/2005). Interactions that scaffold reading performance. Journal of Literacy Research, 36(4), 501-532.

Tumner, W. E., & Chapman, J. W. (2003). The Reading Recovery approach to preventative early intervention: As good as it gets? Reading Psychology, 24, 337-360.

Wood, D., & Wood, H. (1996). Vygotsky, tutoring and learning. Oxford Review of Education, 22(1), 5-16.


APA Citation: Gerig, K.,Perry, J., & Spencer, L M. (2006). Reading Recovery: A Model for Using Effective Scaffolding.. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved <insert date>, from  http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/