Reading Rescue™ was developed beginning in 1993 by Nora Lee Hoover, Ed.D., at the request of Larry Sullivan, then principal of Interlachen Elementary School in Putnam County, Florida. Sullivan, recognizing the need for a cost effective, one-on-one intervention for first graders at high risk of literacy failure, invited Hoover, then a professor of Language and Literacy in the University of Florida’s College of Education, to deliver training that would prepare members of his staff, teachers as well as paraprofessionals, to provide the research-based tutoring some struggling students require to achieve grade level reading. Hoover agreed, provided the training would be sustained over time, and provided she could make regular visits to observe tutoring and provide feed-back. Interlachen’s Curriculum Resource teacher, Linda Stricklin, served as the in-house program coordinator for the school’s cohort of trained Reading Rescue tutors.
The model achieved remarkable results; with few exceptions, low performing students who were tutored daily over a semester reached grade level. The program’s success lead to its adoption in other Florida counties. In 1996, philanthropist Benedict A Silverman funded the first evaluation of Reading Rescue through the University of Florida in schools throughout the state, the results of which were so positive that Hoover resigned from her tenured position in order to make the program widely available to schools. Reading Rescue has since been implemented in over 300 schools across 6 states with Silverman’s continued support.