What is Reading Recovery?

Reading Recovery is a highly effective short term, early intervention program designed by New Zealand educator and psychologist, Marie Clay, to help children who need extra support when learning how to read and write in first grade.

Dr. Clay developed the procedures in the mid-1970’s in New Zealand.  Since its success in New Zealand, Reading Recovery has spread to Australia, Canada and Great Britain.  The United States began training teachers in 1984, and has served more than one million children to date.

Because this intervention is most effective when it is available to all students who need it, Henry Clay is able to meet those needs by having two trained Reading Recovery Teachers on staff:  Mrs. Kephart and Mrs. Hobson. 

The children meet one-on-one with the Reading Recovery Teacher for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.  This lesson is in addition to the reading instruction they receive from the Classroom Teacher.

Each day, the Reading Recovery student:

reads 2-4 known books from his/her book box

independently reads a story that he/she read for the first time the day before


works with magnetic letters to learn how words work
writes a new story based on his/her language and experiences
reads a new book that will be read independently the next day

The Reading Recovery teacher plans each lesson based on the specific needs of each child.  These needs are assessed every day by close observation of the child while he/she is reading and writing.  Because of this, no two Reading Recovery lessons will ever look alike!

Every night, the Reading Recovery student brings several books home to read to his/her parents.  They also have a cut-up sentence that was created by their child during that day’s lesson.  It is very important that parents are involved, so that they can reinforce the value of reading and writing to their children at home.

Reading Recovery Teachers are trained by attending weekly professional development for one year at a designated training site.  Once the teacher is trained, he/she must attend professional development sessions led by the Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, and teach a minimum of eight students every year in order to keep his/her certification current.  This allows the Reading Recovery Teachers to be on the cutting edge of current research and best practices in reading and writing instruction. 

Henry Clay opened Hanover County Public Schools’ Reading Recovery training site in 2002.  We have a specially designed room with a two- way mirror that facilitates teachers observing Reading Recovery lessons.  If you would like to learn more about Reading Recovery, please contact one of the Reading Recovery Teachers at Henry Clay Elementary, or check out our national website . 

It takes a collaborative effort between Reading Recovery teachers, classroom teachers, parents, and the principal to make this program work with maximum results!


 310 S James St., Ashland, VA 23005                  Fax: 804-365-8139      Tel: 804-365-8120                        e-mail Web Master