Reading Rescue™ was developed 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 to provide research-based tutoring to help all students achieve grade-level reading. Hoover agreed, provided the training would be sustained over time, and she could make regular visits to observe and support instruction. Interlachen’s Curriculum Resource teacher, Linda Stricklin, served as the in-house program coordinator for the school’s cohort of trained Reading Rescue Instructors.
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 the study 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.
Reading Rescue is now implemented primarily in New York City under the direction of Literacy Trust, Inc. and Teachers College’s Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University.