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Reading Recovery

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A one-to-one tutoring intervention to reduce the number of first-grade students who have extreme difficulty learning to read and write and to reduce the cost of these learners to educational systems.

Initial Training and Technical Assistance

Each site (which can include multiple school districts) must train a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader at a recognized Reading Recovery University Training Center (UTC) or have access to a trained Teacher Leader. Teacher Leader training generally requires two semesters of full-time course work prior to serving in the role. Teacher Leaders train Reading Recovery teachers and oversee implementation in the site. Salaries of teacher leaders vary according to location and experience and training costs vary across UTCs.

In addition, the site pays university tuition to a Reading Recovery UTC for each teacher-in-training. The initial training generally requires two to three hours per week for the first year of implementation (participating teachers earn approximately 6 graduate credits, depending on the university). There are approximately 20 UTC’s across the U.S. Costs vary among universities. Individuals interested in implementing should contact their nearest UTC for specific costs. Links to the UTCs are available at:

Curriculum and Materials

For each teacher, the site or the school buys training materials, testing materials, and a set of nonconsumable books to use with children. The cost is approximately $2,500 to $3,500 per teacher.


Each year, when a Reading Recovery site has met the Standards and Guidelines of Reading Recovery in the United States (RRCNA, 2009), it is granted use of the Reading Recovery trademark. This trademark is royalty-free.

Other Start-Up Costs

If not already available, an initial cost for a Reading Recovery site is the construction of a specified training area with a one-way glass (small room for teaching and larger room for observing). This area is often located in a school or central office building. Only one is needed per site. A one-time cost for furniture and equipment for the training room should be considered.

A site coordinator (local administrator) is designated to support site implementation. Generally, Reading Recovery responsibilities are incorporated into an existing administrative position.

Ongoing Curriculum and Materials

Replacement costs and consumable items are estimated at $300 per teacher annually.


Qualifications: Teacher Leaders and teachers delivering the intervention are typically certified teachers. Teachers deliver the intervention for at least 2.5 hours of the school day. Teacher Leaders are generally devoted to Reading Recovery full-time.

Ratios: Reading Recovery is a one-on-one intervention.

Time to Deliver Intervention: Reading Recovery requires one half hour of individual instruction per student day for a period of 12-20 weeks.

Other Implementation Costs

A site coordinator (usually a local administrator) assists with allocation of part-time clerical support as needed for Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders; additional costs are related to communications, printing, shipping, equipment such as computers, etc.

Ongoing Training and Technical Assistance

Sites fund ongoing professional development sessions for Reading Recovery teachers and school visits by a Teacher Leader (costs vary; some sites absorb cost in salary of Teacher Leader while others charge a fee per teacher for ongoing professional development and support).

Sites also budget for Teacher Leader(s) to participate in two required annual national/regional institutes/conferences for their continuing professional development.

Finally, sites pay annual technical support fees to their UTC. These fees vary across UTCs.

Fidelity Monitoring and Evaluation

Sites fund two visits from a UTC trainer during their field year (year after training of teacher leader) for implementation support and fidelity monitoring.

Each Reading Recovery site pays $350 per year for services of the International Data Evaluation Center (IDEC). Data costs also include $50 per teacher within the site. The IDEC collects, analyzes, and reports data for every child served by Reading Recovery.

Ongoing License Fees


Other Implementation Support and Fidelity Monitoring Costs

Sites budget for travel for the Teacher Leader to visit schools within the site.

Reading Recovery teachers work in other roles during the remainder of their school day. Their specialized training is a value-added benefit for children, teachers, and schools. If a trained Teacher Leader is working with nearby Districts, it may be possible for a new district to access training from that Teacher Leader and save costs on initial training. While the first year of training for Teacher Leaders and teachers is intense, the ongoing costs for implementation of the program beyond the first year drop significantly.

Year One Cost Example

The following example is for a District implementing Reading Recovery with support for one Reading Recovery teacher leader and 28 Reading Recovery teachers. Estimates of the cost of tuition for teacher leaders and teachers is based on estimates of national average cost of graduate schools in education [1]. Actual costs will vary based on the costs at the local University Training Center (UTC). The staffing cost of the full-time Teacher Leader is included in the estimate but it is assumed that the District is reallocating the time of existing teachers to implement Reading Recovery.

[1] Estimated average cost per credit is based on the reported costs of in-state tuition at public graduate schools in education by US News & World Report.

Teacher Leader Tuition at UTC (18 credits X 386 per credit)
Teacher Tuition for UTC credits for training (6 credits X 386 per credit X 28)
Curricula and Materials ($3,000 X 28)
Data Collection from IDEC (350 + (50 X 28))
Teacher Leader Travel to National Conferences
Site Visits from UTC Trainer
Teacher Leader Staffing Costs (salary and fringe)
Teacher Leader Travel to Site
Administrative Overhead at 20% of staffing costs

Total Year One Cost

With 280 students served in the first year, the cost per student would be $1,003 per student. Note that the cost of the intervention would decline significantly beyond the first year of implementation after the initial training costs have been paid for the Teacher Leader and teachers. Analyses of per student cost for Reading Recovery has been estimated at approximately $4,000 when the salaries of the Teacher Leader and those implementing the intervention are included for the time spent on Reading Recovery and at $109 per student when one assumes reallocation of current teacher time and does not include staff salaries in the cost estimate.