Reading Recovery Professional Development


What is Reading Recovery?

Reading Recovery is a school-based, short-term literacy programme designed for children in senior infants and first class (aged between five years nine months and six years six months) identified as the lowest literacy achievers following one year at school. It is a thoroughly researched and evidence-based early literacy intervention. 


Children are taught individually by a specially trained teacher for 30 minutes daily for 12-20 weeks. The goal is for children to become effective and efficient literacy learners able to work within an average range of classroom performance.  In Ireland, four out of five children consistently reach this goal.


Click here to access research and evaluation on the efficacy of Reading Recovery as a literacy intervention.  




 Initial Professional Development (IPD) 

To become a Reading Recovery teacher requires participation in an accredited Reading Recovery Initial Professional Development programme (IPD) taught by a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader in one of seven centres in Ireland. Teachers who successfully complete the course are awarded a certificate from the Institute of Education, University College London.


The teacher is required to:


  • Attend 20-22 IPD sessions (non substitutable) in their designated Reading Recovery Centre
  • Work with four children at any one time on an individual basis for a half an hour every day (2.5 hours of normal teaching time)
  • Teach a minimum of two lessons behind a two-way screen which are observed and discussed by the group.
  • Receive further support in the form of four to six visits from the Reading Recovery Teacher Leader
  • Make and accept observation visits from Reading Recovery colleagues
  • Gather and submit data
  • The school is also requested to release another teacher to be trained as a Reading Recovery Link Teacher who will support the Reading Recovery Teacher with assessments. This is a non-substitutable day.



Continuous Professional Development (CPD) 

Following successful completion of the IPD year the Reading Recovery teacher will continue in this role, normally for a period of five years.  They will:


  • Teach children in Reading Recovery (normally four per day)
  • Attend six Continuous Professional Development sessions per year (non-substitutable)
  • Receive in-school visits and support from the Teacher Leader
  • Receive and make colleague visits
  • Gather and submit data
  • Use the evidence from annual reports to inform teaching and learning
  • Share literacy expertise to build capacity within the school


Please note that due to the high number of schools and children awaiting places and the cost of orofessional development it is expected that principals will timetable the Reading Recovery teachers to take full caseloads (normally four children per day). Further professional development places may not be given to schools who have trained Reading Recovery teachers on staff not faithfully implementing the programme (e.g. two Reading Recovery teachers working with 2 children per day).



Criteria when selecting a Reading Recovery teacher



  • Permanent, probated teachers who are in school 5 days a week
  • Available to attend all professional development sessions all year
  • A voluntary applicant who is willing to commit themselves to such a demanding course
  • Willing to share expertise and lead literacy initiatives in school




  • Early years experience
  • Enthusiastic
  • Flexible and open to new learning
  • Willing to reflect


Is Reading Recovery suitable for my school context?

In order to implement Reading Recovery your school will need:


  • To have a cohort of at least eight struggling readers per year, aged between five years nine months and six years six months
  • To timetable the Reading Recovery teacher to work with four children individually per day for 30 minutes per child (2.5 hours daily including student changeover)
  • To organise transport of children to the Reading Recovery centre (minimum of 2 per year) to be taught by your teacher behind a two-way screen
  • To commit to allocating the teacher to work as a Reading Recovery teacher with a full caseload for a period of five years
  • To ensure that your Reading Recovery teacher is enabled to teach four children daily and is not assigned other duties that would compromise the integrity of Reading Recovery 
  • To release the Reading Recovery teacher for the required number of professional development sessions at their Reading Recovery centre each year




Allocation of Reading Recovery Places

Please note that Reading Recovery is heavily oversubscribed. Places are allocated in the first instance according to DEIS status.


However, in the following cases, additional places may be declined to a school regardless of status where:


  • There are already enough trained Reading Recovery teachers on staff to successfully implement the intervention
  • The school does not have a sufficient cohort of struggling readers (minimum of 8 struggling literacy learners in the age range of five years nine months to six years six months who have completed one year at school) to implement Reading Recovery successfully on an ongoing basis
  • Reading Recovery is not currently being implemented to maximum effect, e.g., 2 Reading Recovery teachers taking 2 children each instead of 4 or the Reading Recovery teacher has been redeployed within 5 years


The allocation of a place will be contingent upon the attendance of the principal at an Reading Recovery information meeting in Term 3.