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 SpellRead’s impact on students. Here’s the short version:

SpellRead is a literacy program for struggling readers in grade 2 or above, including special education students, English language learners, and students more than 2 years below grade level in reading. SpellRead integrates the auditory and visual aspects of the reading process and emphasizes specific skill mastery through systematic and explicit instruction

The evidence for SpellRead covers students in 5th grade through 6th grade.

The outcomes examined include: alphabetics, comprehension, and reading fluency. Here’s what the evidence suggests about SpellRead’s impact on each outcome:

  • Alphabetics: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 18 to 23 percentile points)
  • Comprehension: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 20 to 10 percentile points)
  • Reading fluency: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 9 to 14 percentile points)

The studies looking into SpellRead had student samples that were in areas in Pennsylvania, had students who were White and Black, 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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