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Research Evidence


Nessy Reading & Spelling has been thoroughly and rigorously reviewed. Research evidence proves that the Nessy program produces positive educational results.

There is no miracle ‘cure’ for dyslexia and students will progress at different rates – but all of them will make gains.

Nessy was developed specifically to support learners with dyslexia and learning disabilties. It is a computer-based, structured phonics resource for reading and spelling including learning of letter patterns as well as spelling and reading rules. The material includes visual memory aids, videos, games and activity worksheets. The intervention provides digital learning with a focus on foundational reading and spelling for ages 5-14.


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Evidence of Results: 2015



On average, students make 1 year of progress in 12 weeks.




A survey of 115 schools using Nessy Reading & Spelling rated the program ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ in these key areas.





Evidence of Results: 2012



Nessy Learning has undertaken independent research studies to determine the efficacy of its online reading and spelling programs. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the research conducted in the United Kingdom and USA. Dr Carbol’s report measures the impact of specialist dyslexia teaching using the Nessy program.

Trials were conducted in 2005 and again in 2011-12. Participating students were aged between 7-11 years. Using standarized reading and spelling assessments to measure student reading age before and after the trial, students on average made a gain of 1 year after 18 weeks of using Nessy Reading & Spelling. Students used Nessy twice a week for 45 minutes – a total of 1.5 hours a week. Several students made notable gains in excess of 2 years. Results for Grade 5 students demonstrated a rate of improvement greater than twice that which could be expected. Average improvement reading single words (decoding skills) 2 years 7 months. The majority of students increased their reading ability by 2 years or greater with one student increasing their reading age by 4 years 3 months.

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Positive curriculum outcomes:

  • 87% of students said Nessy helped them learn.
  • 84% said Nessy made learning fun.






How Often Should Nessy Reading & Spelling be Used?


The extent to which Nessy is incorporated into the overall learning program will have an impact on the overall learning improvement that results. Nessy Learning recommends three approaches to the implementation within a school program.


These are:

a. One 60 minute lesson per week. (Tier 3 general curriculum)

b. 30 minutes twice a week or 20 minutes three times a week (Tier 2 supplemental classroom support)

c. 20 minutes every day or 30 minutes three times per week (Tier 1 intensive instruction)


Singleton‟s (2009) review of published evidence on the impact of specialist dyslexia teaching concentrates on “the core of specialist dyslexia teaching, which is structured multisensory phonics teaching” (p22).

The review establishes that effective intervention programmes for monolingual English speakers in US and UK, are likely to include: explicit training in phonological awareness – key to success, particularly in relation to sustained benefits; strong focus on phonological decoding and word-level work; supported and independent reading of progressively more difficult texts; practice of comprehension strategies while reading texts; instruction that is systematic, multisensory and intensive.

“Nessy is wonderful. We started using it in small groups but it is so successful that we are now using it for whole classes. And the results this year have been amazing! The children have made at least 2 years progress in a year and one has made 3.5 years progress – and yet she is dyslexic! I can’t tell you how much the children (and teachers) love it.”

– Mrs Alison Thompson



How Do I Buy Nessy Reading & Spelling?


Help dyslexic kids

You can purchase single or multi user licences of Nessy Reading & Spelling here.





Nessy as an ESL Tool


Systematic teaching of new “phonemes” is essential (the inability to decode in Kindergarten predicts 88% of poor readers in grade 5) and is particularly important for decoding English. Lundberg (1994) revealed a positive relationship between phonological awareness instruction and reading skills in early bilingual learners.

The most beneficial strategy when dealing with dyslexic learners is direct, systematic, multisensory instruction (Moats & Farrell, 2005; Brooks et al, 2008). This strategy applies equally well to the rule systems of learning a second language (Sparks & Miller, 2000).

You can read more about ‘Using Nessy for ESL’ here.



The Orton-Gillingham Approach


The Orton-Gillingham (O-G) Language Approach is based on the belief that incorporating specific skills in the educational process has a positive impact on the students’ ability to learn how to read, write and spell. Teachers of the O-G method engage all learners by presenting concepts in ways that visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile learners can grasp. Nessy is derived from Orton-Gillingham procedures.

The Orton-Gillingham method is a powerful language intervention for children and adults with delayed or non-existent reading skills due to language-based processing disorders or dyslexia. The National Reading Panel Report (NRPR, 2000) supports the significance of offering classroom instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Therefore it endorses the O-G methods because of its multi-sensory applications that engage kinesthetic, auditory, and visual cues; its sequential and cumulative acquisition of alphabetic and phonemic principals; its practical, language-based applications embedded within a variety of language experiences; and its analytic and synthetic repetition with familiar bodies of learning that enable learners to make reasonable linguistic predictions about new language patterns.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) supports current research that found when children’s instruction takes place in a structured, sequential, multi sensory intervention environment, and by educators trained in phonemic awareness, significant gains in decoding skills are evident. Therefore, the Orton-Gillingham Language Approach is a solid, research proven solution for students of all ages and abilities.

Nessy & Orton-Gillingham

Nessy was developed from classroom teaching practices at the Bristol Dyslexia Centre. It is an instructional approach intended primarily for use with persons who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing. Like Orton-Gillingham, Nessy is focused upon the needs of the individual student and is most effective when used as individualized or small group instruction.

Nessy Reading has been designed to be language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible. Language elements are taught directly and systematically in a highly structured, incremental system of 100 sequential lessons. Typical lessons begin with activities that develop phoneme-grapheme recognition and blending, then advance to whole words and sentences. Spelling activities reinforce reading development.

Learning activities combine interactive computer learning with printable activities and manipulative such as card and board games. To maximize effectiveness computer games combine multiple learning pathways: seeing, hearing, doing, saying. An incorrect response triggers the correct answer to display.

Nessy Reading is both diagnostic and prescriptive. Nessy is diagnostic in the sense that it continuously monitors student responses with reports that allow teachers to identify and analyse both the student’s problems and progress. The student begins the program with a computer adaptive assessment that identifies personalized difficulties, then prescribes targets lessons that provide an instructional resolution to those difficulties.

Nessy is a phonics based program that places emphasis upon the alphabetic principle in the early stages of reading development but in more advanced stages Nessy develops word analysis with strategies for chunking words into syllables, prefix, root and suffix.



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Nessy Reading & Spelling is a fun, multisensory, games and evidence-based program utilising the proven effective Orton-Gillingham method.

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