Headsprout Reading Basics

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  • Reviewed on Monday, August 22, 2011
  • Grades Used: kindergarten
  • Dates used: 2011
Prior to Headsprout, we ran into so many problems to get my son (who has ADHD) to read. He simply was not interested and the task seemed to overwhelm him (he loved/s having books read to him, he just couldnt be convinced to actually read them himself). Headsprout is so well thought out and engaging that within months of beginning the program, my son was reading at a second grade level.

I do agree with the previous posts, however, about the first 40 lessons vs. the next 40. The first 40 work at a slower - more manageable - pace. The next 40 are much more difficult and we did receive resistance from my son to complete each lesson. However we worked through the lessons together and that seemed to help. I dont like that one has to contact headsprout every time a lesson needs to be repeated. I think that it would be beneficial if each member were given 3 tries at any given lesson. This is definitely a weakness in the program.

The program is indeed costly, but I would definitely pay those costs again. I fully endorse Headsprout and give it a 10 out of 10... if only they made a similar program for math! *SIGH*....


  • Reviewed on Saturday, August 28, 2010
  • Grades Used: 1st
  • Dates used: August, 2010
My dd who is 7 years old is not reading yet. I ran into this program by accident as I was looking at reviews for Explode the Code- on line, some one said that they liked this one more. I checked it out and so did my dd. I would preffer if it didn't have the alians in it, but that's ok. It really doesn't matter to her, she enjoys seeing the funny looking little monsters with one eye. She was very happy to participate on the free trial. After reading all the reviews, I'm looking forward to letting her try the Early Reading program. She has all of her sounds in tact and can sound out three letter words, but struggles. This does seem like a lot of money, but when taking into account the time I'm saving by not having to teach the material myself, it's not too bad. Cheaper than a tuttor! Sing, Spell, Read and Write costs about this much, but it's outdated and I would still have to do all the teaching my- self. I'll try it and write another review on how it worked for her. My dd is wiggly and short attention span, but when she likes somthing she CAN really focus all the way. And, she REALLY FOCUSED while doing the free trial lessons. I'm excited and will let you know how it goes for us. Thanks for reading!

Ruth Nicholas

  • Reviewed on Monday, May 24, 2010
  • Grades Used: PRESCHOOL!! (& 1st grade)
  • Dates used: 2003/2004 & 2006 - 2009; will use again
The first 40 lessons are terrific! We did print, laminate and use the phonics cards. I feel this is extremely important to the lessons success. We also printed the books and read & reread them! We've taken advantage of e-mailing in while having struggles or 'redoing' lessons. I will agree with a previous post the second 40 lessons seem to go 'too' fast. Our choice was simply to repeat the lessons and spend time drilling the phonics cards. Each of our 3 oldes have had 'different' experiances with the program. I have detailed each below! We have EVERY intention of starting our son in Headsprout as soon as he is 'ready' to learn to read!! (Please, pay attention to your child when using the program. You don't want to 'give' them the answers; but you do want to be sure they are using the program correctly!)

I used this program with our 3 oldest so far! My 2nd born started at 4. She was reading 'very' well by May. She reads with expression!! She loves to read. We did go through the 'suggested' list of books as soon as she finished the lessons. She read over 100 books during the summer reading program!

Our thrid daughter I started 'too' early, because she was BEGGING to play headsprout. Headsprout was VERY generous & allowed Shannen to start and 'restart' the lessons. During her learning she did have a severe case of lyme disease. Which did effect her cognitive skills. I watched her loose everything she gained through the program. She also began to show signs of an eyesight problem. She now has 'reading' glasses (her father needed reading glasses in his early years so it may be heredity or it may be the lyme). She was thrilled when she finished the program. . . but, she is not as good of a reader as her sister was at the same age. Shannen still needs more of my attention during reading. I'm thinking of having her sit next to her brother as he uses headsprout just to 'reinforce' the skills she's already learned.

Our oldest was struggling immensly with reading in the public school. So as a last ditch effort. I tried Headsprout. She loved the program and excelled. I made a HUGE mistake of not 'watching' her closely & she played guessing games with the last 80 lessons or just skipped reading assignments all together. Because I was busy with work, a new baby & her 'school homework' I did not pay as close attention as I should have. Also she had been so heavily influenced by her K teacher to 'sight' read. Breaking this thought pattern has proven very tough! Inspite of my mistakes as a parent. Headsprout still succeeded in helping her improve. The teacher at school were 'very' amazed with her improvement!


  • Reviewed on Saturday, January 2, 2010
  • Grades Used: Pre-k
  • Dates used: 2009
UPDATE to the below review:
I emailed Headsprout and said, "this is not working." They emailed me back- within the hour- and said, "No problem, let us credit you for the remaining episodes." So, if you are on the fence, Headsprout has my vote for "great customer service."

Original Review:
I would not spend the money for Headsprout again.

What I like: the animation is fun. Student has to complete the material at about 80% to advance.

Vowels are usually given with consonants, rather than by themselves.

What I don't like: program goes into remedial mode pretty quickly (if my four year old is scratching her nose, it assumes she's hesitating, which is frustrating for her because she has to sit through the explanation again.)

Names of characters in the program are made up and weird, probably reflecting a vowel sound.

Words are sometimes 5-6 letters long- too long for a basic learner. My dd is learning them as sight words or shapes rather than the sound when they get too long.

We are using starfall.com right now, because it's free and fun. We probably will go back and finish the remaining 22 lessons we paid for, but she's really lost interest in it.