Headsprout and Reading Proficiency in Urban School With High Minority Population

Research Applies to: Headsprout

About This Research

This case study included grades K–3 of an elementary school serving predominantly minority students and low-income students. Participants used Headsprout in short but frequent sessions, and their reading skills were measured using an assessment for early reading skills and a state assessment for third-grade students.

Main Findings

Before using Headsprout, many of the primary-grade students were not able to identify letters or sounds in the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and would be identified as needing intervention.

After students began using Headsprout, approximately half of the student scores on DIBELS had reached grade level. In third grade, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standard in the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) grew from 46% to 73%.


Participants were approximately 350 students in grades K–3, almost all of whom were African-American. At the school level, approximately 99% of the students came from low-income homes, and approximately 11% of the students needed special education services.

Study Design and Procedures

Headsprout implementation took place from 2010–2012 for this case study. During implementation, students used Headsprout for 20 minutes each school day.


Learning A-Z (revised 2016, May). Anna R. Langford Community Academy, Chicago, IL: Test scores soar with Headsprout reading programs. Tucson, AZ: Author.

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