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Just Words®: Evidence of Program Effectiveness


Wilson Language Training® regularly examines the outcomes of students using our programs and is working with independent researchers to verify the effects of our programs.

Program Effectiveness

To date, impact studies of students’ response to Just Words® instruction have been performed in urban settings. 

Study #1: Reading Comprehension

In this study, gains in reading comprehension made by seventh-grade students receiving Just Words instruction were compared with the gains made by their peers not receiving Just Words instruction (that is, they were instead receiving instruction as usual).

Study #2: Oral Fluency

This study focused on the oral reading fluency of fourth- and fifth-grade students. The students’ oral reading fluency was monitored to see if they experienced gains in oral reading fluency while receiving Just Words instruction.

Study #3: Word Recognition and Decoding

Word recognition and nonsense word decoding among struggling sixth- and seventh-grade students was examined in this study.

Study Findings

These studies found that:

  • Seventh-grade students who received instruction through the Just Words program made larger gains in reading comprehension than their peers who received instruction as usual, resulting in a large reduction in students classified as severely at risk.
  • English language learners (ELL) in seventh grade who received Just Words instruction made greater gains in reading comprehension than ELL students who received instruction as usual.
  • Fourth- and fifth-grade students with word-level deficits who received instruction through the Just Words program made significant gains on word reading fluency and reading accuracy after receiving a semester of Just Words instruction. This allowed many students to close the gap and meet benchmarks.
  • English language learners with word-level deficits in fourth and fifth grade who received instruction through the Just Words program made significant gains in word reading fluency and reading accuracy. Prior to receiving Just Words instruction, these students were well below benchmark in oral reading fluency and word reading accuracy. After a semester of Just Words instruction, these scores were at or approaching benchmark.
  • The gains in oral reading fluency and word reading accuracy made by ELL students were equivalent to the gains made by their native English-speaking peers.
  • Sixth- and seventh-grade students who received three semesters of Just Words instruction experienced an average gain of two grade levels in word recognition and an average gain of 3.4 grade levels in their ability to decode words.

As the word-study component of the intensive Wilson Reading System program, Just Words has strong ESSA Level 4 evidence with studies underway.

Learn More

Detailed results from these studies may be found in the following document: Just Words Overview and Studies of Program Effectiveness.