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Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support

Learner-initiated supplementary supports

Please contact your education advisor with any questions about Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support for 2021

North Island schools Reading Recovery Application 2021:

Word 2007 icon. Reading Recovery Application 2021 (Word 2007, 97 KB)

Please download and save this form to your computer. Complete and return via email to BOTH YOUR local Ministry office enquiries, AND your local RR lead by Friday 13 November 2020.

South Island schools (Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago Southland) Reading Recovery Application 2021:

Go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/76DS7KN and submit the form by Friday 13 November 2020.

Design elements

Target for support (strengths and needs)

Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support enhances the implementation of the familiar one-to-one intervention for early literacy learners who have the lowest literacy achievement levels.

Teachers selected for training need to be experienced and successful in:

  • classroom teaching
  • teaching learners in the first three years at school
  • literacy teaching

After the training year, the Reading Recovery teacher’s role will include Early Literacy Support for teachers and small groups.

Expected outcomes

Reading Recovery is the third tier of Early Literacy support in a school. Reading Recovery is intended to:

  • Accelerate learners’ reading and writing achievement to the average level of their peers, so that they can learn effectively in the classroom without further additional support.
  • Identify the small proportion of learners who need ongoing specialist literacy support. This enables learners requiring long-term support to be identified early in their schooling.

What data is used to support allocation of resources for Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support?

All schools have access to some level of resourcing in order to support their lowest achievers. MOE funding is distributed using a formula taking into account, equity indices, achievement levels, and roll size.

The Ministry of Education provides staffing (271 FTTEs) to support delivery of Reading Recovery. The amount each region and school receives is decided following a formula that includes six year old population, equity index, learner need.

Delivery design (who, how long?)

Learners are identified for Reading Recovery by their school as the lowest achievers in literacy on or as close to their sixth birthday as possible.

Reading Recovery contributes to a school’s literacy approach at three overlapping levels.

  1. Universal – Literacy Leadership
    Reading Recovery teachers, benefitting from their extra PLD in early literacy, will contribute to the literacy leadership in a school.  Classroom teachers already on the staff of the school are the preferred candidates for training to ensure that ownership of the teacher’s learning remains with the school and to ease the sharing of information and consistency of practice and expectations between Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support,  the class programme, and the school’s overall approach.
  2. Targeted – Early Literacy Support
    Reading Recovery teachers will work alongside teachers in classrooms to provide intensive support for small groups of students in their first years of school. Small group Early Literacy Support will respond to the strengths and needs of students from 5.5 years, who are not yet getting underway with reading and writing.
  3. Individual – Reading Recovery
    During an individual learner’s Reading Recovery series of lessons, they receive daily, instruction of 30 minutes from a trained Reading Recovery teacher. The intervention is discontinued when the teacher judges that the learner is achieving in literacy at an average level for their year level, that is, can take full advantage of the classroom programme without additional support (usually 10 to 20 weeks). (Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support is not designed to provide long term support and a learner may be referred when the teacher and the broader school literacy team, in consultation with the Tutor, all determine that long term specialist literacy support is the most appropriate option for the learner.)

Reading Recovery Teachers are employed by individual schools and undertake a one-year training course consisting of fortnightly training sessions of approximately two and a half hours each. During the training the teacher must deliver instruction to a minimum of four learners daily. Teachers who have completed their training are expected to attend six sessions of on-going professional support each year and work with the Reading Recovery Tutors throughout their time teaching Reading Recovery and to engage with colleagues in Early Literacy Support. Teachers in training will be expected to focus on teaching individual children (in addition to their own class teaching) in order to develop skills for those children requiring the most support. As they develop their skills and knowledge they can make an increasing contribution to the leadership of across school literacy approaches. Trained teachers will receive guidance in providing greater support to small group teaching and across school literacy leadership. While all three levels of support are required, school leaders, teachers and Tutors will guide the implementation approach most likely to bring about sustainable shifts in literacy for the school.

Reading Recovery Tutors train full time for one year with practical and academic components. The training course is co-ordinated by the National Reading Recovery Trainer Team, and is currently accredited by the University of Auckland. The National Reading Recovery Team is also responsible for ongoing contact and professional development of the Tutors. In 2021 and 2022 Tutors are employed by the Universities of Auckland, Waikato, Canterbury and Otago.

How will the support contribute to classroom practice (tier 1) and school capability?

Reading Recovery teachers receive in-depth training in assessment, observation and teaching for literacy learning in the literacy acquisition stage. Ideally these teachers are classroom teachers in the school and so this knowledge will have a significant impact on their own wider classroom teaching and that of the school. Effective communication between Reading Recovery teachers as part of a school’s literacy leadership team and other classroom teachers fosters the spread of understanding about meeting the needs of young literacy learners across the school and contributes to a cohesive literacy learning approach along the learning pathway.

When schools fully implement Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support (ie ‘Reading Recovery is part of the way we do things round here’) classroom teachers at all levels of the school are better able to meet the needs of learners at appropriate levels. Trained Reading Recovery teachers work alongside classroom teachers to support the needs of small groups of learners through Early Literacy Support.

How will the support contribute to building educationally powerful relationships with parents, whānau/family, hapu, iwi, and community?

An effective home-school partnership established at the beginning of a learner's schooling can have positive, long-term impacts on family/whānau-school relationships and on a learner’s wellbeing and achievement.

Integration of Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support into the literacy approach of schools includes the continuation of effective, learning-focused, home-school engagement from the time a learner enters the school.

The model

Reading Recovery Tutors work with training groups of approximately 8-12 teachers. In subsequent years groups of trained teachers may be approximately 15 in size. Training is likely to consist of a blend of face to face and online learning. Reading Recovery Tutors work with trained teachers to provide ongoing professional learning including for Early Literacy Support.

Teachers must work with a minimum of four learners at any one time throughout their year of training. In subsequent years the number of learners is determined by each school. Trained Reading Recovery teachers will also contribute to group teaching and learning (Early Literacy Support) and whole school literacy approaches.

How is support monitored and measured in terms of outcomes?

In the year of Reading Recovery teacher training:

Each teacher keeps detailed records of learner progress through lesson records, writing vocabulary charts and daily Running Records and weekly graphs of the learner’s text level progress. The Observation Survey (Clay, 2019) is used as an identification tool for designing an individual series of lessons, and as the final check at the end of the learners’ series of lessons. This is recorded by each school and monitored by the Reading Recovery Tutors.

Each teacher updates graphs of text level progress at each fortnightly training session for monitoring by the Reading Recovery Tutors.

National Reading Recovery collects the achievement details of all learners taught by a Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support teacher in training.

All schools:

  • Schools complete an electronic data entry of the progress, achievement and final outcome annually for their Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support learners for the Ministry of Education which publishes an annual report. Tutors will provide support to do this.
  • Teachers maintain an on-going progress and achievement graph at each of the sessions they attend, and this is monitored by the Reading Recovery Tutors.

What needs to be sustained?

  • An immediate, effective, and responsive early intervention for learners struggling to establish effective literacy processes.
  • Highly intensive, effective training and support for Reading Recovery trained teachers.
  • A nationally led Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support approach that ensures consistently high-quality practice and implementation across the country.
  • Reading Recovery Teachers also contribute to school data collection, collation and analysis for students involved in Early Literacy Support.
  • Ongoing monitoring of successfully discontinued students throughout the remainder of their primary school career with immediate intervention should that be needed. (Records should be sent on to any subsequent primary schools.)

Roles and responsibilities for the support

What are the conditions for successful delivery?


National Reading Recovery will ensure that Reading Recovery Tutors are knowledgeable and experienced in literacy learning and teaching. The Tutors provide for consistency of practice and ongoing support and training for teachers and draw on current research and best professional practice. They are familiar with and can support teachers in the use of Ministry of Education literacy resources including the enhanced Ready to Read Plus series.


Schools need to ensure that:

  • there is highly effective classroom and school wide literacy teaching supported by a range of integrated interventions, of which Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support is a key component
  • experienced, knowledgeable teachers with proven success teaching at a junior level are selected for Reading Recovery training and Early Literacy Support.
  • they supplement MOE funding to allow wide implementation within their school (all learners who need Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support receive it)
  • they identify for Early Literacy Support the lowest achievers from around 5.5 years, regardless of perceived potential, absences, ethnicity or other factors
  • they identify for Reading Recovery the lowest achievers from around 6.0 years, regardless of perceived potential, absences, ethnicity or other factors
  • they address all additional issues through effective school systems such as vision and hearing checking, absences
  • Reading Recovery principles are upheld including daily half hour individual instruction, teachers attending all training and support sessions, contributing to an integrated in-class small group and class literacy approach across the school
  • they sustain the monitoring of the learners’ ongoing literacy progress after the student is successfully discontinued reinstating extra support whenever that is needed.


The MoE will:

  • support schools through the allocation of teacher resource to facilitate full implementation
  • administer the allocation of centrally funded FTEs
  • work with universities to facilitate and strengthen the work of National Reading Recovery and Reading Recovery Tutors
  • work with the University of Auckland and National Reading Recovery to select high quality candidates for Tutor training
  • support National Reading Recovery to ensure that the Reading Recovery Guidelines are adhered to and that these are updated to reflect current research.

Updated on: 03 Nov 2020

System of support

Identifying learning needs. Resource selector. Impact of changed practices. Designing learning for school context. Integrated system of support for students. Achievement information triggers response.