Finding Evidence Based Programs for Reading and Math

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As a special education teacher and tutor, I would like to know what are good reading programs up to high school level?

What about programs for math and writing through all the grades?

We recommend Orton-Gillingham based programs. These programs have over 60 years of research that supports their effectiveness and they work for everyone.

It’s hard to understand why schools resist using them.

Orton-Gillingham based programs include Wilson and Slingerland. Lindamood-Bell is also good.

Direct Instruction has a good track record. This website  contains information on Direct Instruction’s extensive and broad research base.

We have a topic page on Wrightslaw about Reading and Writing here:

Here’s a “one stop shopping” resource that will answer some of your questions about evidence based reading and math programs at different education levels.

Find out which educational programs have been successfully evaluated in valid research.

Not many math programs have solid research to support them.

If you go to the Best Evidence site, and click Reading and “Beginning,” you’ll see 3 programs that have “strong evidence of effectiveness.”

  • PALS
  • Reading Reels
  • Success for All

If you click Reading programs for Upper Elementary and Middle/High School, you’ll see no reading programs with strong evidence of effectiveness.


Good educational programs are the programs that have research that supports their use.

  1. has anyone had evidence on 10 marks from Amazon? Our daughter is 9 years old and has downs syndrome, is behind in math, and the school district is trying this new program.

  2. Lindamoodbell has some evidence, but all of the research is fairly sparse. There just is not a lot of research out there. I’ve had remarkable success with the LiPS for my child, who has auditory processing deficits. i also found Diane Craft’s Right Brain Phonics program, which is a great for my child, who is also a visual learner.

  3. Can you name any evidence based reading comprehension practices or training programs that have published peer reviewed studies?

  4. Rene, your district has the right to evaluate your son, and it may be in your best interest to allow it. Why? Because then you can disagree with their evaluations and request an IEE (independent educational evaluation). Seems either stupid or ignorant of the district to tell you they will only do IQ testing, especially if your child is already rec’ing compensatory services for a failure on their part previously. Who knows why they say stupid things, but the reality and proof is in the evals. Make sure you document every conversation you have with anyone from the school. They cannot refuse an IEP based only on an IQ test, they must test in all areas of suspected disability and I would include this phrase in any letters to the district regarding this subject.

  5. After having our child in compensatory education for ayear and a half, we want it to continue, but now the school is saying we must submit our son to an IQ test. They refused to even look at the outside eval that shows he’s made three years progress in reading, writing, and math in eighteen months. Their attitude even implies that we are lying about progress. they say if we don’t submit to IQ testing they will refuse to do any other tests or offer an IEP. They insist on using Weschler’s which is unfair to children with autism. He WILL NOT score well on this test. They refuse any accommodations. What do we do? We just want his academic tutoring paid for and for it to continue so he can catch up to his peer group.


    Middle-high school is less remedial in most places. Once I fully understood the law, my child was tracked appropriately and is receiving SBRI, etc. Teachers encouraged me to become the change agent and it worked. Teachers want to ensure the success of students but parents must push for change and services. It has been a long journey but also inspirational. I must caution that once kids hit puberty some of them become resistant to remediation as they may have to get pulled-out for 1-1 or small group SBRI. It is very embarrassing to some of them. Outside tutoring may interfere with extracurriculars that many of them need to maintain confidence. Help them see the big picture beyond high school. It is worth it. Have the coaches and mentors work with them.


    There are many wonderful teachers who support using these programs. The administrators, for many reasons, do not provide training or the program supports for SBRI, etc. Some district administrators are not up to date on best practices. Some of the best administrators meet with such resistance from savvy principals that they can do NOTHING. You can have the best special education director. But, their hands can be tied by a resistant BOE, a hard headed principal, or resistant staff. The students suffer. It is a national problem regardless of economic status. Knowledgeable parents are the change agents. Many teachers promote Wrightslaw to parents for change to happen. Teachers want the best for students but parents must become the change agents and know the law for themselves.

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