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 overview

  • 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
Issue Areas
K-12 education
Target Population
Elementary and middle school-aged children
Cost per Participant
Not available

Evidence and impacts


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

  • 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

Best practices in 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