The History Of Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery Pioneers
(L-R) Emily Rodgers, PhD., Marie Clay, PhD.,
Patricia L. Scharer, PhD., Gay Su Pinnell, PhD.

Reading Recovery was developed in the 1970s by Marie Clay, a New Zealand educator and psychologist. It was introduced in the United States through The Ohio State University in 1984 by Gay Su Pinnell and Charlotte Huck. That year, Marie Clay and Barbara Watson came to Ohio to begin teaching one trainer, three teacher leaders, and 13 teachers.

In 1985 Marie Clay and Barbara Watson began teaching Columbus children. Carol Lyons and Diane DeFord joined the Reading Recovery team at Ohio State in 1985. Gay Su Pinnell, Carol Lyons and Diane DeFord were the first trainers in this country. Since 1984, Ohio State has trained over 200 teacher leaders and trainers.

Reading Recovery is now widely implemented in the United States. During 2017-2018, the intervention reached 35,579 first graders in 2,975 school buildings, from 964 school districts over 42 states. Teacher training or continuing professional development was offered by 266 teacher leaders to 4,526 teachers. Sixteen (16) university training centers oversaw fidelity to Reading Recovery’s many implementations. Reading Recovery’s trademark is held by Ohio State.

Of the first graders who were served in 2017-2018 and had the benefit of a full program, 70% were successfully discontinued from the intervention within 12-20 weeks.

Mary D. Fried Endowed Clinical Assistant Professor


Jamie Lipp, Ph.D.

Mary D. Fried Endowed Clinical Assistant Professor, Jamie Lipp
Jamie Lipp, PhD
Assistant Professor - Clinical

Jamie is a Clinical Assistant Professor and University Trainer for Reading Recovery with a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction (Literacy Focus). She has more than 15 years of experience as a classroom teacher, Reading Recovery Teacher, Curriculum Specialist, and college level instructor. She is the lead for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative at Ohio State.

Ohio State Professor Emerita Gay Su Pinnell committed $7.5 million from her charitable fund with The Columbus Foundation to the College of Education and Human Ecology — the largest philanthropic contribution made by an individual or foundation in the college's history.

Dr Pinnell's gift supports the Mary D. Fried endowed professorship in reading, the first endowed clinical professorship at Ohio State.

More information about Dr Pinnell's gift it available at the EHE news site.

Marie Clay Endowed Chair in Reading Recovery and Early Literacy

Lisa D. Pinkerton, Ph.D.

Lisa Pinkerton is an experienced teacher, a critical teacher educator and an active scholar. She has taught a variety of early childhood literacy courses, and most recently trained teacher leaders as an instructional specialist in Ohio State's Reading Recovery program and trained literacy coaches and principals in the Literacy Collaborative program.

Marie Clay Endowed Chair
Lisa Pinkerton, PhD
Associate Professor - Clinical

The Ohio State University Board of Trustees on February 4, 2005 approved the Marie Clay Endowed Chair in Reading Recovery and Early Literacy supportd by a $2.5 million endowment in the College of Education and Human Ecology.

Reading Recovery is a worldwide program that trains teachers to administer intensive tutoring to first-grade children who are having difficulty learning to read and write. Nearly 1.5 million students have been tutored in North America since Ohio State College of Education faculty helped bring Reading Recovery to the United States in 1984.

Dr. Marie Clay of New Zealand was one of the most distinguished researchers in educational literacy in the world. She has been called "the Michael Jordan of reading" for changing the face of primary school literacy instruction.

Clay received her Ph.D. from the University of Auckland in 1966, where she had been on the faculty since 1960. She developed the Reading Recovery intervention program, which was adopted by all New Zealand schools in 1983. Faculty at Ohio State first worked with Clay in the early 1980s and she served as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar here in 1984-85. Marie Clay passed away in Auckland on April 13, 2007.