RR would be an unwise strategy, as even RR students are likely to require some kind of
additional maintenance support in later years(Shanahan and Barr, 1995).
Cost of Reading Recovery
One to one interventions by highly trained teachers are required. An analysis by
Hiebert (1994) found that RR was very expensive, costing over $8,000 per student,
reflecting in part the costs of training. According to Shanahan and Barr (1995) after the
savings from lower retention rates and special education costs are considered, the per
student annual expenditure for RR is in the region of $3,200, with great variation evident
in district expenditures due to differences in teacher salaries and benefits. The emphasis
on experienced teachers probably raises the actual per-student costs to $4,000.
Elbaum et al. (2000) found that students who participated in RR did not
outperform students who were provided one on one reading instruction by trained
volunteers. Two studies have compared RR administered to a small group (Evans, 1996;
Iversen, 1997) and found no advantage of one to one instruction over small group
instruction. Many of the current NICHD and OSEP pullout interventions utilize group
sizes of 1:3 and higher. Thus, solely by virtue of the number of students who can be
reached, RR is at least 200% more expensive than other first grade interventions.
There are other first grade programs that are demonstrably efficacious, impact more
students because they do not require 1:1 tutoring, are easier to implement, and do a
better job than Reading Recovery of improving student reading skills because they do not
drop students (Snow et al., 1998; Torgesen, 1999).