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Model Programs Database

Headsprout Early Reading

127 Broadway Ave E., Suite #200
Seattle, WA 98102

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Contact Information:


Program Specification:






Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:


Inner City



Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities


Headsprout Early Reading is a supplemental early literacy curriculum accessed via the Internet. The prekindergarten curriculum-which emphasizes phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension-is made up of forty 20-minute animated episodes, 30 stories, and 100 printable flashcards. Animated cartoon characters guide children through interactive episodes in locations such as outer space, under the sea, or the land of the dinosaurs. Children use the mouse to navigate through the episode; for example, helping a worm get home by identifying, from among four pairs of letters, the letters that represent a sound they learned. The worm moves closer to his hole with each correct answer. The curriculum provides individualized, adaptive instruction, and children work through the lessons at their own pace. The program responds to a child's pattern of errors with tutorials and reviews to provide extra assistance to children struggling to comprehend the material. Children must meet specific performance criteria in order to progress to the next lesson. Cumulative review is built into the curriculum to help ensure retention. Printed versions of stories in the episodes are found in six Headsprout Readers. The stories only contain material that children have learned up to that point in the curriculum. The Readers serve to reinforce the skills taught during the series and provide children with the opportunity to practice basic reading. The program generates performance reports, allowing teachers to monitor their students' progress.

Program Descriptors Include:
Extended-School/Summer Program, Mentoring/Tutoring, Life Skills Training

Starting Date: 1999
Students Served Per Year: 500+
Last Verified: 2009

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Low achievement

Program promotes the following:


  • Involvement with positive peer activities

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:


Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

State Agencies
Local/City/County Agencies
School Districts


Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Computer/Internet Based


Evaluation Information:

Headsprout Early Reading was found to have potentially positive effects on oral language and print knowledge.

How evaluation data was collected:
Outside experimental studies
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level

National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities
209 Martin Street
Clemson, SC 29631-1555
Toll Free: 866-745-5641
TDD: 866-212-2775
Fax: 864-656-0136
Email: NDPCSD-L@clemson.edu

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Last Updated: May 24, 2015