Comparing Nessy Learning to Saxon Phonics: A Case Study

Tiffany James, Reading and Dyslexia Specialist, compares the traditional paper-based phonics teaching tool (Saxon Phonics) to a digital, games-based alternative (Nessy Learning), and their impact on child literacy.

The study followed 22 children from kindergarten to halfway through second grade comparing their results to 22,000 children across the United States who had taken the DIBELs test.

Before the students started using Nessy or Saxon it was found that less than half of students in every grade were reaching the minimum grade level benchmarks. Whilst this may seem shocking, this statistic is consistent with national statistics across the US in both public and private schools.


The Study

When the children used either Nessy or Saxon Phonics they were assessed 3 times a year over 2.5 years, in line with DIBELs, to monitor progress and to see if the methods helped improve grade level benchmarks.

By the end of the study, the results were undeniable.

The children using Saxon Phonics had continued to struggle and by halfway through 2nd grade the number of children reaching grade level benchmarks was just 47%.

In comparison, the children using Nessy had improved tremendously and by halfway through 2nd grade a huge 79% were reaching grade level benchmarks, supporting evidence that in this digital age, students need a more multisensory approach that works for them.


You can read the full study here.