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A Positive Review of Headsprout

written by: Leah Witmond • edited by: Benjamin Sell • updated: 8/15/2012

Reading is one of the most important skills a child needs to acquire. Once she can read, she’s ready to conquer the world. Headsprout can help you teach your child to read in 80 fun and interactive lessons.

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    In 80 online lessons, Headsprout teaches children the basics of reading. The Headsprout Early Reading program covers the five most important elements of early reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

    Using Headsprout is fun and easy. The lessons are short – around 20 minutes – and ideally, your child completes one lesson each day.

    The program is aimed at children aged 4-7, and although not designed for children with special needs, some parents of challenged learners have found the program to be effective with their special child.

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    Try First, Buy Later

    Home users can sign up for a free 3-lesson trial first before deciding to buy the program, which, by the way, is very reasonably priced at just $198 for the full program of 80 lessons, or $99 for the first 40 lessons only. And if, within 30 days, you decide Headsprout is not working for your child, you get your money back.

    For schools, there’s no free trial as far as I’m aware, but they promise a refund for any student that’s not reading at or above grade level after using Headsprout Early Reading for one academic year.

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    What’s Included

    When you sign your child up with Headsprout, she gains immediate access to the online lessons, and there’s no need to wait for the other materials to arrive before she can start learning.

    Within a few days – or weeks if you live outside the US – you will receive a set of 6 or 12 full color booklets, called Headsprout Readers, with stories for your child to read. You will also receive a progress map with stickers and a completion certificate.

    New printable stories will be unlocked upon completion of the corresponding lesson, and the same goes for printable flashcards of words and sounds learned in the program.

    Last but not least, parents and teachers receive detailed progress reports, both online and via email, after the child has completed a lesson.

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    Personal Experience

    I used Headsprout with my youngest daughter when she was seven and started showing some interest in learning to read. At first she really liked the program, but as things became more difficult her enthusiasm waned. However, she did successfully finish all 80 lessons, spending on average about 22 minutes on each lesson and repeating lessons when needed. Her average score was 98.5% correct.

    This is for a girl who speaks English as a second language and never really liked reading. In fact, she still is a reluctant reader, but she can read--and has also learned to read in her native language without any further training.

    I think Headsprout is a great product at a very reasonable price, and I would definitely recommend it.