Seriously good online educational resources (Updated May 2018)
Dr Kerry Hempenstall, Senior Industry Fellow, School of Education, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.
All my blogs can be viewed on-line or downloaded as a Word file or PDF at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/olxpifutwcgvg8j/AABU8YNr4ZxiXPXzvHrrirR8a?dl=0
There is a world of information about the results of high quality educational research. However, linking this research to the world of teachers has been a problem. Research journals are expensive, teachers have not typically been trained to seek out and interpret this resource, and there often remains the thorny issue of implementation of research findings into effective practice.
The web has provided an access portal to vast quantities of information, but, as we’ve all experienced, there is no guarantee of the quality of such information. There are many sites that claim to make use of an evidence-base – often to sell a product. So separating worthwhile, trustworthy sites can be a fraught process.
The following list was informally developed over a number of years whilst researching materials for teachers as an introduction to how evidence-based practices might be incorporated into one’s teaching.
Mark Shinn’s page at https://files.secureserver.net/0fTRT9557QdFI6 offers many resources related to evidence-based practice, Response to Intervention, and program implementation issues.
The Harvard Graduate School of Education has published a series of one-page memos for policymakers and early learning leaders on how to improve early literacy. These Lead for Literacy one-pagers use research-based evidence and are designed to help leaders avoid common mistakes in early education programs. Each memo revisits assumptions that guide current policies and practices, outlines common pitfalls, and presents solutions to pressing issues.
Reading Instruction and Research
Some Australian resources:
Nomanis: An independent quarterly magazine emphasising evidence-based practice in education – a "vehicle for promoting the ideas and evidence about effective instruction in reading and related skills, for teachers, parents, fellow professionals and policy makers". It is available at https://www.nomanis.com.au/
This excellent video on synthetic phonics was produced by a Speech pathologist, Alison Clarke. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e8SJFuGRFM
See also her site Spelfabet. The use of explicit, systematic linguistic/synthetic phonics in the early years of school would prevent many literacy difficulties, and improve everyone’s spelling, and thus also boost teacher success and satisfaction. I’m keen to help parents, teachers and others incorporate this evidence-based approach into high-quality initial instruction and early intervention, while also working on vocabulary, comprehension and fluency. See at https://www.spelfabet.com.au/
Also a valuable source is The Snow Report: “My research passion is communication competence - primarily as this pertains to vulnerability in early life. I am particularly interested in the interface between education and health - two paradigms that need to "talk to each other" in both schools and hospitals, though they sometimes lack a common language with which to communicate.” See at http://pamelasnow.blogspot.com.au/
The FIVE from FIVE Alliance is a group of organisations and individuals who support the objective of promoting effective, evidence-based reading instruction. Evidence from scientific studies has accumulated over the past several decades to provide strong guidance to teachers about the most effective teaching strategies. See at http://www.fivefromfive.org.au/
MUSEC Briefings: A set of brief descriptions and evaluations of various educational interventions. See at https://www.mq.edu.au/research/research-centres-groups-and-facilities/healthy-people/centres/macquarie-university-special-education-centre-musec/community-outreach-overview/musec-briefings
Child Trends offers reviews of specific programs for various issues.
Child Trends reviews studies of children at each stage of their development. http://www.childtrends.org
Child Poverty: the effects of poverty on children’s development
Child Welfare: children and adoption, foster care, and kinship care
- Early Childhood Development: children’s development from birth through early elementary school
- Education: children's academic achievement (K-12) and behavior in school; how families, communities, and schools help support children
- Fatherhood & Parenting: how involved parents effect their children and adolescents
- Health: the physical and socio-emotional health of children and teens
- Evaluation: the use of data to assess the strengths and weaknesses of programs and, policies to improve their effectiveness
- Indicators of Child Well-Being: the use of trends information from infancy through early adulthood
- Marriage & Family: sexual behavior, contraception, pregnancy, and childbearing
- Positive Development: measurement of positive behaviors, relationships, and attitudes
- Teen Sex & Pregnancy: factors associated with risky adolescent sexual behavior and teen pregnancy
- Youth Development: research and evaluation of out-of-school time programs.
For Example, the What Works for Mentoring Programs
WHAT WORKS FOR FEMALE CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventionshttp://www.childtrends.org/?s=WHAT+WORKS+FOR+MALE+CHILDREN+AND+ADOLESCENTS%3A+&post_type=indicators
WHAT WORKS FOR MALE CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions. http://www.childtrends.org/files/Child_Trends-2012_08_20_WW_MaleChildrenAdolescents.pdf?utm_source=Gender+Differences+in+What+Works+for+Boys+and+Girls&utm_campaign=WW+Gender+Differences&utm_medium=archive
What Works for Mentoring Programs: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions reports the results of our synthesis of experimental evaluations of mentoring programs, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, to determine how frequently these programs work on certain outcomes. http://www.childtrends.org/?publications=what-works-for-mentoring-programs-lesson-from-experimental-evaluations-of-programs-and-interventions
Project Write: Steve Graham and his colleagues at Vanderbilt recently launched Project Write, designed to improve the writing and self-regulation behaviours of students in grades 1-3. The website provides an overview of the stages of instruction; lesson plans that use two strategies to teach persuasive writing; and a resource page of online and print resources. https://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/research/pro/about_peabody_research/funded_projects/project_write_home.php
The Education Consumers Foundation has a page on Direct Instruction Resources - for those interested in learning more about DI, including videos http://www.education-consumers.org/ECF-DI.htm
Some You tube videos for classroom management include: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvlR7o81x2Q and
Another You tube by the same presenter is checking for understanding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=vd7TO9alAss
Video presentations on basic classroom management rules: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVMsqYX62Uo&feature=related
About classroom management strategy
This one makes the point about being organized, planning, consulting with others:
Ideas for classroom rewards http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/more/management/contents_rewardideas.htm
The student teacher game being played with great skill and enjoyment by Randi Saulter at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1baYII1Mc4k
There’s a written description as well that can be downloaded.
The International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction (IFERI) is a not-for-profit organisation. It includes researchers, educators and parents from around the world. The aim of the International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction is to contribute to raising standards of literacy in the English language based on robust research and high-quality instruction in the teaching of reading, spelling and writing. Our focus is on literacy for learners of all ages wherever in the world English is taught – regardless of whether English is the first or additional language. See at https://www.iferi.org/
A substantial body of NIFDI research has examined the effectiveness of the DI curricula
These studies have confirmed the accumulated findings of decades of other studies showing that students studying with DI have higher achievement scores and stronger growth rates than students studying with other curricula. These results have appeared with reading1,2,8,9,10,13,15 and math7; in urban1,2,7, rural2,8 and suburban8,13,15 settings; with middle class high achieving students13; with high risk students16, general education students1,2,7,8,9,10,13,15,16 and special education students15; with schools that are predominantly African American1,7,9, those with substantial numbers of Hispanic students2,8,15 and those with large numbers of non-Hispanic whites8,13,15; and with children from pre-school age10 through middle school4. The strong positive results appear in studies examining state test scores4, curriculum-based measures2,4,8,10 and norm-referenced tests1,4,7,9,10; in the United States as well as in other countries11 and with randomized control trials10,13,14 as well as quasi-experimental designs1,2,4,7,8,9,11,15.
The National Institute for Direct Instruction (2012). NIFDI's Research Office.
PBS Kids is the brand for children's programming aired by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States. The programming is non-commercial. It is aimed at children ages 2 to 12. It also offers a website with many educational online games for children. These are listed by topic, and include reading games, letter games, number games, science games, maths games, literacy games, spelling games, and vocabulary games. http://pbskids.org/games/
The TA Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports has been established by the Office of Special Education Programs, US Department of Education to give schools capacity-building information and technical assistance for identifying, adapting, and sustaining effective school-wide disciplinary practices.
The National Center on Response to Intervention is housed at the American Institutes for Research and works in conjunction with researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Kansas. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
Education Consumers Foundation: Whether you are a parent who is trying to understand the style of teaching used in your child’s classroom or a legislator who is looking for a fair-minded assessment of a proposed remedial education program, we can point you to useful, consumer-friendly information. If your question can better be answered by experts outside our Network, we will help you find a resource that is sympathetic to your interests. http://education-consumers.org/
The Literacy Clinic at NIU Online videos on the big elements important in reading instruction. Phonemic Awareness Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, Comprehension Strategies, Comprehension of Fiction Texts, Writing with Younger Children. http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLiteracyClinic
See the great array of practical resources in classroom management, behaviour management, assessment, and instruction at the University of Kansas website called Special Connections – Connecting teachers to strategies that help students with special needs successfully access the general education curriculum. See at specialconnections.ku.edu/
The McGraw Hill website has many resources and information about Direct Instruction programs https://www.mheducation.com/prek-12/explore/direct-instruction.html
Norbert Rennert created a website that allows you to create completely decodable wordlists in English. You only need to select which letters you want the words to have and the page displays them for you. http://call.canil.ca/english/index.html
Dr. Patricia Mathes, Institute for Reading Research, SMU has presentations on reducing reading failure and on teaching students with cognitive impairments. https://www.smu.edu/~/media/Site/Simmons/Research/IEBE/ARC%20presentation%2091909Website.ashx
Columbus State University Center for Quality Teaching and Learning Reading Webliography. Describes the many reading instruction resources available freely on the web https://cqtl.columbusstate.edu/teach/reading_webliography.php
Video clip on harm caused by balanced literacy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPTXWo5wZXI&feature=related
Video arguing that introducing a sight word approach first is damaging many kids. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCNDFTBkPBQ&feature=fvw
What works in education? The Best Evidence Encyclopedia (BEE) presents reviews of research-proven educational programs. http://www.bestevidence.org/index.cfm
Slavin, R.E., Lake, C., Chambers, B., Cheung, A., & Davis, S. (2009, June). Effective beginning reading programs. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education. http://www.bestevidence.org/reading/begin_read/begin_read.htm
Slavin, R.E., Lake, C., Davis, S., & Madden, N. (2009, June) Effective programs for struggling readers: A best evidence synthesis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education. http://www.bestevidence.org/word/strug_read_Jul_07_2009.pdf
Slavin, R.E., Cheung, A., Groff, C., & Lake, C. (2008). Effective reading programs for middle and high schools: A best evidence synthesis. Reading Research Quarterly, 43(3), 290-322. http://www.ldonline.org/article/28285/
Achieving Success for Every Student with the National Institute for Direct Instruction. It has information such as how DI can be used for schoolwide use and the kind of results a school might expect if they implement the program model well. It is available at: https://www.nifdi.org/docman/new-to-di/new-school-handouts/528-achieving-success-for-every-student-with-direct-instruction/file
Subscribe to Best Evidence in Brief from Johns Hopkins School of Education's Center for Research and Reform in Education and the University of York's Institute for Effective Education. Every two weeks it provides a round-up of items of interest related to education research. For example, canparental involvement improve a child's academic performance? This meta-analysis from Urban Education examines the relationship between school-based parental involvement programs and the academic achievement of pre-k to 12th-grade children. Findings of the study indicate that overall there is a significant relationship between parental involvement programs and academic outcomes, but that further research is needed to examine why some types of programs have a greater impact on educational achievement than others. http://education.jhu.edu/research/crre/newsletter.html
Education Week hosts a series of webinars that are archived and accessible "on demand" for up to six months after the original live-streaming date. See at http://www.edweek.org/ew/marketplace/webinars/webinars.html
Investing in Children! The costs and benefits of education interventions
A new series of publications aims to provide independent investment advice for children's services. Investing in Children from the Social Research Unit at Dartington will publish reports on the effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness, of programs and approaches. The reports look at the financial costs of particular interventions, the financial benefits to taxpayers and participants, and the risk that an approach might not be successful. The first two reports look at interventions for early years and education, and youth justice. In the early years and education report, programs rated include Reading Recovery, Success for All, and Life Skills Training.
Education Consumers Foundation (ECF) are giving away a book called Clear teaching: With Direct Instruction, Siegfried Engelmann discovered a better way of teaching by journalist Shep Barbash.
The National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) has a searchable database of 130+ articles on DI. The database is searchable by Author, Title, Year, and Keyword. Each article includes an abstract along with full citation information. If you are a researcher and would like your article, dissertation, etc. published in the database, please contact our Research Department at
Comprehensive assessment and evaluation of students with learning disabilities. A paper prepared by the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities June 2010. This paper is intended to inform administrators, educators, parents, and others concerned about the effective identification and education of students with learning disabilities about the components, processes, and participants necessary for comprehensive assessment and evaluation, as well as optimal practices that should further enhance the education of students with learning disabilities. www.ldonline.org/?module=uploads&func=download&fileId=802
Prof. Dorothy Bishop provides an insight into what parents should look out for and what to consider when evaluating if alternative solutions for dyslexia will be effective -includes discussion of the 'smoke and mirrors' in the Dore treatment test result statistics, cognitive dissonance and a study which showed that people are overly impressed by scientific explanations which include 'neuroscience waffle':
Get Ready to Read! is a US program to build the early literacy skills of preschool children. GRTR! brings research-based strategies to parents, early education professionals, and child care providers to help prepare children to learn to read and write. The goal is to ensure that all children have opportunities to become successful readers. Get Ready to Read! is an initiative of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. The many resources include a quick 20 question screening tool for 4 year olds.
THE SOURCE: A Curriculum Guide for Reading Mentors. A very useful resource with both theory and curriculum activities provided. www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7539/urlt/manual.pdf
Toddling Toward Reading: A Reading Rockets resource on helping preschoolers toward literacy success.
An evidence-based instructional method for improving fluency is repeated reading. A set of repeated reading fluency materials (primary and secondary grades) is the Quickreads material (http://www.quickreads.org/) developed by Elfrieda Hiebert. These materials contain multiple short passages on the same topic, and using many of the same words.
LD OnLine is the leading website on learning disabilities, learning disorders and differences. www.ldonline.org/
Reading Rockets offers a wealth of reading strategies, lessons, and activities designed to help young children learn how to read and read better. Our reading resources assist parents, teachers, and other educators in working with struggling readers who require additional help in reading fundamentals and comprehension skills development. http://www.readingrockets.org/
Good source of information about Direct Instruction at:
Common Logical Fallacies in Psychology: 26 Types & Examples http://kspope.com/fallacies/fallacies.php
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Gersten, R., Compton, D., Connor, C.M., Dimino, J., Santoro, L., Linan-Thompson, S., and Tilly, W.D. (2008). Assisting students struggling with reading: Response to Intervention and multi-tier intervention for reading in the primary grades. A practice guide. (NCEE 2009-4045). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Docs/PracticeGuide/rti_reading_pg_021809.pdf
The Reading Resource Project from the Literacy Empowerment Foundation offers educators the opportunity to do so. Stock your classroom library or literacy program with high quality, leveled tradebooks for $68.00 per hundred books. Empowerment Foundation: Reading Resource Project at www.lefbooks.org/reading_resource_project/
This site offers free tools and resources to help school staff and parents to promote positive classroom behaviours and foster effective learning for children and youth. For example, ADHD: A School-Based Evaluation Manual, Classroom Behavior Report Card Resource Book, Curriculum-Based Measurement: A Manual for Teachers, CBM Workshop Participant Packet, Kids as Reading Helpers: A Peer Tutor Training Manual, Preventing Classroom Bullying: What Teachers Can Do, The Savvy Teacher: Reading Interventions That Really Work. http://www.interventioncentral.org/
The National Center for Special Education Personnel and Related Services Providers' (NASDSE) website has a document detailing the research literature upon which Response to Intervention (RtI) is based. It can be downloaded for free at http://www.nasdse.org/Portals/0/Documents/Download%20Publications/PNA-0776.pdf
Free US Department of Education publications. More than 6,000 titles on education: literacy, maths, etc
Just Read, Florida! is its statewide reading initiative. Lots of resources at http://www.fldoe.org/academics/standards/just-read-fl/
Resources from Illinois School Psychology Training Programs at http://www.ilispa.org/resources-from-illinois-school-psychology-training-programs
Reading and the Brain
Hosted by Henry Winkler, who has had his own struggles with reading, Reading and the Brain explores how brain scientists are working to solve the puzzle of why some children struggle to read and others don't. Startling new research shows the answer may lie in how a child's brain is wired from birth.
TEXT PROJECT: Bringing the right texts to beginning readers http://www.textproject.org/
Powers of ten demonstration http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/index.html
Info for parents-to-be and parents & carers of 0-16 y/olds http://raisingchildren.net.au/
BBC Newsnight videos show how Ruth Miskin's synthetic phonic programme was used to 'turn around' reading at Britannia Village primary school. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4700537.stm
Final Report (Newsnight 17/07/06) The school has moved from the bottom to the top of the school league tables in just two years!
Video on sloppy maths teaching (Everyday maths) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI
The Access Center: Improving Outcomes for All Students K-8. Provide technical assistance that strengthens capacity to help students with disabilities effectively learn in the general education curriculum. Lots of valuable material www.k8accesscenter.org
The IRIS Center materials on education. They have many modules across a range of issues, such as general education, special education. They also have four modules on behavior management. Go to
MIT's OpenCourseWare: a free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world. It is a publication of MIT course materials, and does not require any registration
RecognitionandResponse.org is a comprehensive online resource that provides educators with information about this cutting edge approach to early education. This site offers information and resources to help early educators address the needs of young children (3 to 5 year-olds) who show signs that they may not be learning in an expected manner, even before they begin kindergarten. Established by the National Center for Learning Disabilities https://ttaconline.org/Resource/JWHaEa5BS74FgTYdoT5YVw/Resource-recognition-and-response
The Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice and its research fellows have collaborated with several journals to produce articles on timely and relevant topics regarding children and youth with behavioral and emotional difficulties. https://www.air.org/project/center-effective-collaboration-and-practice-cecp
Partnership for Reading a collaborative effort of the National Institute for Literacy, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the U.S. Department of Education. Booklet on teaching reading at https://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/PRFbooklet.pdf
National Center on Student Progress Monitoring provides an overview of student progress monitoring. It may be of particular use for parents in helping them gather key information from their child's school. https://rti4success.org/sites/default/files/whatthismeans.pdf
Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network was formed by a group of leading Canadian researchers with a long-standing scientific interest in language and literacy. http://www.cllrnet.ca/
National Education Association - resources full of practical tips and tools to get your classroom in order. http://www.nea.org/tools/ClassroomManagement.html
A site with plenty of abstracts of research papers on reading. http://www.citeulike.org/user/garyfeng
Access a number of major journals online for free through the National Library in Canberra https://www.nla.gov.au/. You have to join and get a card number but then it is all online.
Some journal articles for free: Semantic Scholar at https://www.semanticscholar.org/
Siegfried (Zig) Engelmann’s site with articles on instruction by the maestro http://www.zigsite.com/
An extensive site from the University of Indiana with much information on reading development, its assessment, and methods of teaching. https://www.indstate.edu/search/google/reading
A large and well constructed site with a collection of resources and articles related to educational reform in literacy and related topics. www.illinoisloop.org
The CEC Alerts series is an initiative of the Council for Exceptional Children. Each Current Practice Alert provides timely and informed judgments regarding professional practices in the field with a special focus on learning disabilities. They list some activities as well supported – “GO FOR IT” with: Phonological Awareness instruction, Class-wide Peer Tutoring, Mnemonic Instruction, Formative Evaluation, Direct Instruction. They are less enamoured by the research behind other activities – “USE CAUTION” with: Social Skills Instruction, Reading Recovery, Co-Teaching, High-Stakes Assessment http://www.cecdr.org/news/new-item2
Various links regarding reading writing, spelling: http://ettc.colstate.edu/ram/webliography.htm
Martin Kozloff’s brilliant and/or crazy musings http://educationation.org/
Hoagies' Gifted Education Page http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/
The Centre for Development and Learning (CDL) specializes in the development and dissemination of leading edge research, knowledge, training and best practices from diverse yet related fields that impact educational success. "To my knowledge, CDL is the only organization worldwide that is working to connect knowledge from the medical, psychological, educational and judicial fields to multiply the benefits to children." --Michael Fullan, Dean, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto http://www.cdl.org/
Bruce Murray, distinguished researcher, has how to teach reading articles at http://www.auburn.edu/~murraba/
The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) is one of seventeen divisions of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), an organisation dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted. The Division for Early Childhood promotes polices and advances evidence-based practices that support families and enhance the optimal development of young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities. Numerous resources, best practices and bibliographies at http://www.dec-sped.org/dec-recommended-practices
Children of the Code. Great interviews with eminent researchers about the scientific approach to reading at http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/index.htm
Centre for Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice in Education.
The EPPI-Centre was established in 1993 to address the need for a systematic approach to the organisation and review of evidence-based work on social interventions. See articles at http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk
National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy.
NRDC is the national centre dedicated to research and development on adult literacy, language and numeracy. It was established as part of Skills for Life, the national strategy for improving adult literacy and numeracy skills. Articles at
Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
Bibliography on concept maps and concept mapping at http://www.ihmc.us
Three randomization plan generators at http://www.randomization.com/
Research and Training Center (RTC) on Early Childhood Development
The major aim of the Research and Training Center (RTC) on Early Childhood Development is to implement a coordinated and advanced program of applied research on knowledge and practice that improves interventions associated with the healthy mental, behavioral, communication, preliteracy, social-emotional, and interpersonal development of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with or at risk for developmental disabilities. Carl Dunst provides easy to read summaries of the evidence behind different nontraditional approaches such as, dolphin therapy, hippotherapy, melonic intonation therapy, and so forth. There are also several very useful documents that define "evidence-based practices."