Research and Evaluation Findings

In order to maintain an appropriate level of accountability for their investment, all districts implementing Reading Recovery participate in a national evaluation design to collect information about children's literacy achievement. Information on all children is recorded by the National Data Evaluation Center in Columbus, Ohio, and is analyzed and reported by the Reading Recovery Project. In addition to providing the districts with the standardized evaluation results and other data related to program implementation, the Reading Recovery Project at New York University publishes the research findings, geared toward the general educational community. 

1. NYU-affiliated districts provide quality instruction and efficient implementation of Reading Recovery, as evidenced by a high proportion of at-risk students who successfully complete the program.

2. Reading Recovery children catch up with their peers, scoring within the classroom average on various literacy measures, and being able to read texts of appropriate level of difficulty (using an Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, Clay (2002).

3. Reading Recovery is cost effective, as it reduces rates of retention, or referral and placement, in special education for Reading Recovery children when compared to other at-risk students.

4. Reading Recovery children maintain their literacy gains beyond the first grade, and achieve similar results on standardized tests as their classroom peers.

The  New York City and New Jersey reports corroborate earlier research which demonstrates that Reading Recovery has a substantial positive impact on children's literacy development. Reviews of Reading Recovery research by Pinnell (1995) and by Askew et al. (1998) provide excellent sources for research findings on various aspects of the program, such as teaching and learning, teacher development, and program implementation, as well as comprehensive evidence on program success and cost effectiveness, culled from the extensive body of state-wide and international research spanning the last three decades.

Researchers with the Reading Recovery Project have also explored some important aspects of program implementation. Ashdown and Simic (1998) reported on the link between daily delivery of Reading Recovery lessons and success in reading, emphasizing the intensive nature of Reading Recovery instruction as a key to accelerated learning. Ashdown and Simic (1999) have also reported data from a large sample of students in the metropolitan area, which suggest that Reading Recovery also provides an appropriate solution to reading problems for students whose native language is not English. Currently in preparation are studies focusing on cost effectiveness, and on factors influencing program effectiveness in diverse settings. Both draw data from the implementation of Reading Recovery at NYU-affiliated school districts.

Research Bibliography

  • Ashdown, J.E. and Simic, O. (1998, April). Reading Achievement and Its Relationship to Attendance: Evidence from an Early Intervention Program. Based on a paper presented at the American Educators Research Association, San Diego, CA.
  • Ashdown, J.E. and Simic, O. (1999, April). Is Early Literacy Intervention Effective for ESL Students? Evidence from Reading Recovery. Based on a paper presented at the American Educators Research Association, Montreal, Canada.
  • Ashdown, J.E., Smith-Burke, T.M., Ticke, L. and Simic, O. (1999). Reading Recovery in New York City: School Year 1997-98. Reading Recovery Project, New York University, NY.
  • Ashdown, J.E., Smith-Burke, T.M., Ticke, L. and Simic, O. (1999). Reading Recovery Project in New Jersey: School Year 1997-98. Reading Recovery Project, New York University, NY.
  • Askew, B.J., Fountas, I.C., Lyons, C.A., Pinnell, G.S. and Schmitt, M.C. (1998). Reading Recovery: Understandings, Outcomes and Implications. Reading Recovery Council of North America, Columbus, OH.
  • Clay, M.M. (1993). An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Acheivement. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Jaggar, A.M and Simic, O (1996). A Four-Year Follow Up Study of Reading Recovery® Children in New York State: Preliminary Report. New York University.
  • Jaggar, A.M. and Smith-Burke, M.T. (1992). Reading Recovery® Voices: Teachers, Administrators and Parents. New York University.
  • Lyons, C.A. (1998). Reading Recovery in the United States: More than a Decade of Data. Literacy Teaching and Learning: An International Journal of Early Reading and Writing, 3, 77-92.
  • Pinnell, G.S. (1995). Reading Recovery: A Review of Research. Educational Report 23: Special Topics Issue. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University.