6 Reasons To Not Use Reading Recovery

6 Reasons not to use RR

Here is a brief summary of the Wrightslaw article:  Reading Recovery:  What Do School Districts Get For Their Money? A Review of the Research by Melissa Farrall, Ph.D.  Please see the entire article for the researched, detailed reasons why Reading Recovery should not be chosen as a reading intervention program for struggling readers, especially for students with dyslexia.

Reading Recovery is an early intervention program that has been widely acclaimed as an effective means to improve the reading skills of young children.  The purpose of Reading Recovery is to reduce the rate of reading failure.  Reading experts have raised concerns about the theoretical foundation, the research base, and the costs associated with the program. These concerns include:

  1. Reading Recovery lacks independent research that validates the program’s success.
  2. Reading Recovery does not include a standard, nondiscriminatory goal for successful completion of the program.
  3. Reading Recovery does not measure progress objectively.
  4. A high percentage of children are dropped from Reading Recovery before they complete the program.
  5. Reading Recovery does not reduce the need for special education and Title I services.
  6. Reading Recovery is expensive when compared to programs that are more effective.

Independent research does not validate Reading Recovery’s claims of success. Reading Recovery lacks a standard, nondiscriminatory goal for improving reading skills. Reading Recovery does not use standard measures of assessment to document progress. In house-data from Reading Recovery does not account for the high number of children who are dropped from the program, or for the selection process used to determine eligibility for the program. Reading Recovery does not reduce the need for special education and Title I services. Finally, Reading Recovery is expensive when compared to other programs.

The biggest problem is qualitative vs quantitative research. Reading Recovery research is based on qualitative research (see Qualitative vs Quantitative Research).

It uses the subjective measure of observations which is not based on structured & validated data-collection.  It also allows bias into the research: the data collectors know which students either received RR or did not receive RR, and the data collection was based on the data collectors subjective observations. “This alone invalidates the entire study and makes it worthless.”

It is not a randomly selected group. As far as the “control” group goes, we don’t know what, if anything, they received. This does not tell us anything. And it is bottom up research: it generates a theory based on the data collected rather than testing the theory with the data.


For more reading:


Reading Rope