Skip to main content


Evaluation of Reading Recovery

Early Intervention Designed to Help the Lowest-Achieving Readers
October 2010—September 2015

Reading Recovery is a short-term early intervention designed to help the lowest-achieving readers in first grade reach average levels of classroom performance in literacy. CPRE’s evaluation, steered by CPRE Senior Researcher Henry May at the Center for Research on Education and Social Policy (CRESP) at the University of Delaware, was part of a five-year, $55 million Scaling Up What Works grant awarded to The Ohio State University by the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund in 2010.  The grant supported the expansion of Reading Recovery to nearly 90,000 additional students in U.S. schools. 

CPRE’s Reading Recovery evaluation includes rigorous experimental and quasi-experimental designs for estimating program impacts, coupled with a large-scale mixed-methods study of program implementation under the i3 scale-up. In its first two years, CPRE observed estimated program effects from Reading Recovery that range in magnitude from roughly one half to two thirds of a standard deviation, with significant variation in school-level impacts. These effects are large to very large relative to the estimated treatment effects typically reported in studies of instructional interventions--nearly three times the average effects reported in studies of similar interventions analyzed by Lipsey et al. (2012). CPRE has also observed strong implementation fidelity across hundreds of Reading Recovery implementations. Investigating the factors that predict variation in school-level impacts is an ongoing focus of the implementation study. With its large randomized controlled trial—among the largest ever conducted on an educational intervention—and extensive implementation study, CPRE’s evaluation of Reading Recovery promises significant insights into the impact of early literacy intervention on struggling readers, and the implementation of instructional programs at the school and district levels. It will contribute meaningfully to experimental research in education, and to the field's growing focus on linking implementation and impacts.

Ongoing Research from the Center for Research in Education & Social Policy (CRESP)

To learn more about ongoing Reading Recovery research, visit CRESP's Reading Recovery project page or contact Henry May




Consortium for Policy Research in Education

University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
3440 Market Street, Suite 560
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tel: 215.573.0700
Fax: 215.573.7914


Sign up to receive news and announcements

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.