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Research Evidence

Evaluating Impact of Nessy Reading & Spelling

Research evidence proves that the Nessy Reading & Spelling 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 differences. 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
Evidence of Results: 2012
Evidence of Results: Texas
How Often Should Nessy Reading & Spelling Be Used?
How Do I Buy Nessy Reading & Spelling?
Nessy as an ESL tool
The Orton-Gillingham Approach


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 the following independent research studies to determine the efficacy of its reading and spelling programs.

Table 1: Average Improvement Using Nessy

Average Improvement Using Nessy


Table 2: Average Improvement in Single Word Reading

Average Improvement in Single Word Reading


Table 3: Average Improvement in Sentence Reading

Average Improvement in Sentence Reading


Table 4: Average Improvement in Spelling

Average Improvement in Spelling

Students used the Nessy Learning Program for a total of 18 hours over a period of 6 months.


The two groups are statistically compared (each pair of scores was analyzed to look for improvements over time) and statistically analyzed using a one sample t-test). The differences for each grade level and for each measure of reading and spelling proved to be significant.


On all measures, students using the Nessy program, performed at rate of improvement that is greater than expected. In some cases this improvement was more than double what might be expected normally.




Schools using NWEA Mapping have seen significant progress following the introduction of Nessy.



Positive curriculum outcomes:

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



Evidence of Results: Texas

From 2013 onwards Nessy Reading & Spelling has been used as an intervention tool in Midland, Texas. Since implementing Nessy, fantastic progress has been made by student’s using the program resulting in a 40% increase of students reaching grade level benchmarks and more than half of the student body scoring in the top 10% nationally in 2016.


After instituting Nessy as part of the STRIVE program the number of Kindergarten children reaching grade level benchmarks increased to 74%. The highest risk group decreased from 22% to 10%.

RTI nessyreading case study

1st Grade

At the start of the program start only 40% of 1st graders were meeting minimum grade level benchmarks. By the end the number of children reaching grade level benchmarks increased to 64%. The highest risk group decreased from 30% to 10%.

nessy successnessy works

Results over 2.5 years

Students who began using the Nessy program in Kindergarten 2014 have continued to demonstrate progress into 2nd grade 2016. When Nessy was implemented as part of the STRIVE program 51% of these students were meeting grade level benchmarks in Kindergarten (a mean score of 43.1 being the 58th percentile).

Latest results in this ongoing study demonstrate 79% of these students are meeting grade level benchmarks midway through 2nd grade (a mean score of 124.4 being the 89th percentile nationally).

This represents a growth of 31 percentile points placing the students in the top 10% of the nation.

dyslexic interventionreading success

To read more about Nessy’s work in Texas click here.



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.

how often do i use help dyslexic
This data was taken from our Orange County Public Schools Pilot, Florida.

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 programs 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 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 that when children’s instruction takes place in a structured, sequential, multisensory 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 Center. 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.

Nessy is designed to be multisensory. 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 analyze 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 utilizing the proven effective Orton-Gillingham method.

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