Edmark Reading Program

The Edmark Reading Program uses a whole-word approach to reading instruction that was specifically designed for students with mild to moderate cognitive disabilities.  The publishers state that it may be used as a core reading program or a supplement to a core reading program.  The goal of Edmark is to teach 150 sight words including the endings –s, -ed, -ing, in Level 1 and 2200 sight words including compound words in Level 2.  After the completion of Level 1 of the program, the intent is for students to read at approximately a 1.0 reading level and after Level 2, students may achieve a 2.0 – 3.0 reading level.  Lessons are delivered daily by a teacher in a 1:1 instructional format.  Each lesson lasts 5 – 15 minutes and more than one lesson per day may be taught, depending upon the student.


The Edmark Reading Program provides instruction in sight word vocabulary that is consistent with the principles of behavioral psychology and direct instruction.  One study produced large effects for word identification but more well designed studies are needed to verify this beginning level of support.

Future studies should include measures of comprehension.


Strengths of Edmark Reading Program:

  • Positive reinforcement is consistent throughout the program.
  • The small steps within the instructional format may minimize memory demands and the possibility of making errors.
  • Teacher materials are explicit and provide enough information to facilitate the program’s use for teachers and paraprofessionals without the need for extensive professional development.
  • The program’s multisensory approach may assist in holding student’s attention.


Weaknesses of Edmark Reading Program:

  • The program is not comprehensive enough to be considered a core reading program, given it was designed for students with cognitive impairments.

Source: Florida Center for Reading Research