Headsprout and Students at Risk for Dyslexia

Research Applies to: Headsprout

About This Research

In this doctoral dissertation, the researcher examined the oral reading fluency of students at risk for developmental dyslexia. Measures of oral reading fluency were obtained weekly for each student before, during, and after completing the Headsprout program. Students’ parents were asked about their satisfaction with the program in order to measure social validity.

Main Findings

After participants started using Headsprout, oral reading fluency increased for all students and continued to increase throughout the study. These gains were maintained after six weeks of not using the program, for all but one participant. A satisfaction survey completed by the students’ parents showed that parents were highly satisfied with the program.


Participants in this study were nine second-grade students from six general education classrooms. The students had been identified as being at risk for developmental dyslexia by either their performance on standardized reading tests or their teacher’s referral based on the students’ overall reading performance in first grade.

Study Design and Procedures

This study used a multiple-baseline design across participants. The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) Oral Reading Fluency test was used weekly through all phases of the study to measure reading skill. After a baseline period ranging from four to nine weeks, students began using Headsprout Early Reading after school for one-hour sessions, two to three times per week. All students completed the 80 online lessons that make up the whole program. Students’ reading skills were measured for six weeks after program completion to determine maintenance effects.


Wochos, G. C. (2010). Evaluating the effectiveness of supplemental computer-assisted instruction with second-grade students at risk for developmental dyslexia (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO.

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