From Not Recognizing the ABCs to Reading Full Sentences


© Courtesy of Canadian Institute for Reading Recovery

“My son wasn’t able to identify letters before he started learning through Reading Recovery. Now he is reading full sentences to his younger brother before bed,” said Kelly. She says she isn’t sure what would have happened if her son didn’t have the one-on-one lessons with his Reading Recovery teacher. He did really well with the full attention and the individual focus on what works for him to learn best. It took just a few weeks of individual lessons with his Reading Recovery teacher to be able to recognize the letters, write them and read full sentences.

“I don’t believe every child is the same and Reading Recovery really focused on what worked for him. Now he knows his letters, loves to read and feels so proud reading to his brother. Reading is now part of our family time.”—Kelly

Many of us take reading for granted, and we hardly remember how we learned to do it. Most of us pick up the basics as preschoolers from older family members and fine-tune our skills once we enter elementary school. Yet, if we struggled to learn to read, we remember it all too well!

We know from research that about 20 per cent of all Grade 1 students will have difficulty picking up the reading and writing skills that will prepare them for a successful education and a promising future.

Imagine if those few students with the most difficulty learning to read and write in Grade 1 were provided with the resources and support they needed to successfully learn right in school.

They could catch up to their peers, feel confident, have a positive report card, actively participate in their class, be set up for a successful educational future, and so much more.

“As a parent, I witnessed the transformation a child can feel when they learn to read and write.” —Travis’ mom

For decades, the Canadian Institute for Reading Recovery, a national charitable organization, has worked behind the scenes in schools to provide an early literacy intervention to those children in Grade 1 who are struggling the most to learn to read and write. Over the years, more than 250,000 children have gained immeasurable self-confidence as they successfully learned to read and write!

Reading Recovery is an intensive early literacy intervention that is delivered by a specially trained teacher working individually with a child for just 30 minutes every school day. Most students need just 60-90 lessons to master the skills of reading and writing. Each lesson builds on the child’s strengths, existing knowledge and interests and features reading a book, writing a sentence, making words, understanding sounds, letter recognition, and so much more.

Each year, a trained teacher works one-on-one with eight to 12 students and at least 2,040 other students by providing early literacy support to classroom teachers.

Early intervention is key to the success of children like Travis and Kelly’s son, Adam. Working with a highly-skilled teacher right at school means children can catch up and are well-equipped for the rest of their educational journey. Reading Recovery is available in both English and French in schools across Canada, but it’s not in all schools. Your advocacy is needed to ensure all children can learn their ABCs.

“Hailey now looks forward to reading!”

“Thanks to Reading Recovery, when we’re reading at home, I can see her trying to get the words on her own instead of just looking at us to tell her the word. We can see her trying to read her schoolwork more and more. We see her trying to use the skills she has learned. She wants to play ‘spelling bee’ to spell words herself. She loves to leave little notes for her dad and I too!”

To learn more about Reading Recovery or to find out how to get it in your school, visit

The Canadian Institute for Reading Recovery is a registered charitable organization dedicated to supporting early literacy learning for children across Canada.

the canadian institute for reading recovery
Photo © Courtesy of The Canadian Institute of Reading Recovery

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Reading Recovery is an intensive early intervention program that takes place over 20 weeks. Every school day, selected Grade 1 students who are having the most difficulty with reading and writing are paired with specially-trained teachers for just 30 minutes. 


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