Welcome to Parsimony’s blog, where we help K-12 educators identify evidence based ways to maximize student outcomes.

This blog post is part of our What Works Clearinghouse review series. The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) is an initiative by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) which is the independent statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the United States Department of Education. WWC estimates the effectiveness of programs by evaluating the quality and quantity of evidence for that program.

This week’s blog post is about the evidence behind Headsprout® Early Reading’s impact on students. Here’s the short version:

Headsprout® Early Reading is an online supplemental early literacy curriculum consisting of eighty 20-minute animated episodes. The episodes are designed to teach phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The program adapts to a child’s responses, providing additional instruction and review if a child does not choose the correct answer

The evidence for Headsprout® Early Reading covers students in pre-kindergarten.

The outcomes examined include: oral language and print knowledge. Here’s what the evidence suggests about Headsprout® Early Reading’s impact on each outcome:

  • Oral language: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 22 percentile points)
  • Print knowledge: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 22 percentile points)

The studies looking into Headsprout® Early Reading had student samples that were in areas in Florida, had students who were Black, and Hispanic, were male and female, and received free & reduced price lunch.

You can find the full report from the What Works Clearinghouse here:


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