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Headsprout is a reading and reading comprehension program currently available through Learning A-Z. The program uses creative characters that take students on an interactive digital journey while teaching them reading strategies that will help them excel. A summary of the product has been entered into the attached slide. Below is a brief overview of findings.

General Description

Product Features

  • Adaptive Educational Sequencing: The program uses a scaffolding teaching approach that adapts to each student's needs by providing individualized practice and instruction. Each episode is designed to adjust the delivery method through a "sophisticated error pattern analysis" that ensures each student meets the needed criteria before they can move forward. Each episode then builds upon the previous episode's core foundations.
  • Embedded Benchmark Assessments and Automated Progress Reports: Prior to beginning the program, students take an online or downloadable assessment to determine where they should begin. At various stages in the program students are given benchmark passages to ensure they have mastered the skills needed to new texts. Teachers and parents can track student growth with automated progress reports.
  • Continuous Instructional Sequence: Based off of the assessment, students can start anywhere in the reading sequence depending on their reading skills.
  • Vocabulary Building Engine: Students learn four vocabulary words in 5 minutes with a patented teaching instruction.
  • Automated Motivational Routines in a Kid Friendly Environment: Each episode, accessed online or through the app, feature animated sequences that keep students engaged by illustrating what is being read.

Efficacy Studies/Case Studies

  • Headsprout is an effective reading program for a wide variety of learners. In fact, English language learners maintain an accuracy level above 90% with only a less than 1% difference with native English readers.
  • A Florida Center for Reading research report states, "In sum, the content and design of Headsprout Early Reading reflect scientific research with an abundance of instructional strategies in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. The developers of Headsprout Early Reading have produced a wide array of evidence that most children who work with the program acquire the specific skills it is designed to teach."
  • Peer Reviewed research shows that at-risk preschoolers that used the program made "significantly larger gains" than those that did not. In addition, a group of students with Autism made a minimum of one year's growth after using the program for 14 weeks.
  • A case study from a Nashville school showed 7.6 times more growth in students who used the program. In addition, 91% of the schools in the district that used the programs showed growth in TCAP scores, up 18%.
  • Anna R. Langford Community Academy in Chicago, Illinois reported a 27% increase in the number of third-grade students meeting/exceeding ISAT reading standards after implementing the program.
  • St. Anthony’s School is a Catholic school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin serving a primarily low-income, Latino student base. When the school began using the program, it had a literacy rate of 43%. Today, 64% of the school's students are proficient or advanced readers.


Online reviews of Headsprout by independent users are minimal. Reviews on the Homeschool Co-op forum are all positive. Comments include:
  • "My 5 year old only knew basic letter sounds...and now we are on lesson 37 of Headsprout and she is reading SO much! And she loves doing it."
  • "I have used Headsprout for a few months now with four of my homeschooling children. They have all improved in their reading skills, especially with consonant and vowel blends and reading comprehension. "
  • "My 8 year old son who has dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and dysgraphia has been using Headsprout for about a month now. He LOVES it. He told me that he is getting better at reading and that Headsprout is the reason."
  • A review by a user posted on Brighthub Education stated: "I used Headsprout with my youngest daughter when she was seven and started showing some interest in learning to read. At first, she really liked the program, but as things became more difficult her enthusiasm waned. However, she did successfully finish all 80 lessons, spending on average about 22 minutes on each lesson and repeating lessons when needed. Her average score was 98.5% correct."
Reviews on the product website include:
  • "The progress of our Headsprout students is remarkable. One student in Tier 2 of Response to Intervention increased from 30 words per minute to 96 and is now on grade level—in just 3 months! We are excited about using the program district-wide in K-2. We know that Headsprout will fill our gap in research-based, highly-engaging, literacy interventions for young children."
  • "I've been here 25 years. I've seen a lot of programs come and go. This is the only thing thus far that has worked with everybody."
  • "We are dedicated to providing all of our teachers with the most effective resources available in education. After a few years of investigation and research of their company, I am convinced that Headsprout may have the long-term solution for eliminating illiteracy in our community by building the skills and strategies in those early grades that are so essential to life-long learning. According to virtually all research that I can find, establishing strong reading skills in children before they hit third grade is the best way to give all children a chance for a successful school career and be a contributor to society."