Students With ADHD: Headsprout's Effects on Reading Fluency and Off-Task Behavior

Research Applies to: Headsprout

About This Research

This study measured baseline levels (before Headsprout) of off-task behavior and oral reading fluency, then compared them to levels during Headsprout use. The participants (early elementary students with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD) were considered at risk for reading difficulties.

Main Findings

After Headsprout was introduced, all students showed higher levels of oral reading fluency and higher rates of growth compared to their baseline levels. Average oral reading fluency scores increased from baseline to intervention by 12-19 words correct per minute. The rate of weekly gains in oral reading fluency after participants started Headsprout suggests that Headsprout produced educationally significant gains. While completing Headsprout episodes, participants’ off-task behavior decreased by 21% to 43% compared to their baseline levels.


Participants were three kindergarten and first-grade students identified with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Participants attended a rural elementary school and were considered at risk for reading difficulties based on teacher reports and standardized test scores.

Study Design and Procedures

This study used a multiple baseline design across participants. During the baseline phase, participants received their classroom's usual reading curriculum. During the intervention phase, participants also completed Headsprout episodes three times per week. Throughout the study, researchers directly observed the behavior of each participant using a modified version of the Behavior Observation of Students in Schools (BOSS), which measures the frequency of on- and off-task behavior. Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) Oral Reading Fluency probes were administered once a week to each participant throughout the study in order to measure changes in oral reading fluency.


Clarfield, J., & Stoner, G. (2005). The effects of computerized reading instruction on the academic performance of students identified with ADHD. School Psychology Review, 34(2), 246-254.

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