Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
  • This strategy can help address educational disparities. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program basics

  • Literacy program for struggling readers two or more years below grade level
  • Draws upon auditory and visual aspects of literacy through specially designed curriculum
  • Takes 5–9 months to complete, consisting of 140 lessons total

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)


Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse

Target population

Elementary school-aged children

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • Pennsylvania

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Positive effects on alphabetics
  • Potentially positive effects on fluency and comprehension
  • Improved alphabetics by an average of 18 percentile points
  • Improved fluency by an average of 9 percentile points
  • Improved comprehension by an average of 20 percentile points

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Schedule enough time to cover the entire SpellRead program. Sessions should be scheduled on a regular and frequent basis
  • Adhere to the program as designed, including limiting groups to five students sorted by reading ability
  • Record student assessment data to monitor progress and guide lesson plans
  • Provide teachers with sufficient training and support to build expertise in the SpellRead method

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