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HMH Into Reading

When examining the efficacy of any program the first step is always to try and find a peer reviewed meta-analysis. I searched for HMH studies on Google, the company website, Education Source, and Sage Pub. I was able to locate two studies on HMH and neither study produced impressive results. The first study was commissioned by the Learning Company in 2020, on 387 grade 3 and 5 students and yielded a mean effect size (ES) of .45, which is a moderate result. However, there was no control group for the study, which tends to greatly exaggerate results. Moreover this ES is only slightly better than the average ES found in education studies of .40. The second study was by Eddy, Et al. This study was conducted in 2020, on 19467 grade 3 and 5 students and yielded a mean ES .16. While this study did have a control group, the effect sizes found were not statistically significant. I therefore, have to conclude that the HMH program is not evidence-based as the current experimental evidence is weak, at best. 

That being said, HMH is a research-based program, meaning the fundamental principles behind the design are supported by the meta-analysis literature. Indeed, having gone through the curriculum documents for HMH, I must say I am impressed. The program is extremely detailed, in its curriculum, philosophical underpinnings, and scope and sequence. The authors list several high yield areas of instruction, including: Phonemic awareness, phonics, morphology, spelling, and comprehension. The authors also list several high yield instructional strategies, including: individualization, interventions for special needs students, and direct instruction.

The scope and sequence is highly logical and is in line with the current evidence of best practice found in meta-analysis. The program starts with the most foundational knowledge, phonemic awareness, then builds to phonics, to morphology, spelling, and fluency.  However, it has been criticized for de-emphasizing the phonics components. While the program does include some strategies that are low yield within the literature, some of these like increased student choice, and use of technology are likely to have additive effects, not subtractive effects, meaning that program users can use these strategies along with the high yield strategies, rather than instead of. 

While the mean experimental results for HMH are very low, this is not necessarily indicative of the program’s value. As there are very few studies done on the topic, this low mean ES might be a result of insufficient data. Another possible confounding factor is the complexity of the HMH program, as that complexity might lead to greater fidelity issues for individual teachers trying to use the program

Final Grade: B

Most of the program principles are well evidenced, within the meta-analysis literature. 

Qualitative Grade: 10/10

The program includes the following evidence based principles: direct instruction, individualized instruction, scaffolding, phonics, fluency instruction, morphology instruction, sight word instruction, comprehension instruction, and spelling/writing instruction. 



The Learning Company. (2020). HMH Into Reading Implementation Study Research Study Results 2019-2020. Retrieved from <>. 


R, Eddy, Et al. (2020). QUASI-EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN. Cobblestone. Retrieved from <>. 


Filderman, M. J., Austin, C. R., Boucher, A. N., O’Donnell, K., & Swanson, E. A. (2022). A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Reading Comprehension Interventions on the Reading Comprehension Outcomes of Struggling Readers in Third Through 12th Grades. Exceptional Children, 88(2), 163–184.


Feng, L., Lindner, A., Ji, X. R., & Malatesha Joshi, R. (2019). The roles of handwriting and keyboarding in writing: a meta-analytic review. Reading & Writing, 32(1), 33–63.


Ehri, Linnea & Nunes, Simone & Willows, Dale & Schuster, Barbara & Yaghoub-Zadeh, Zohreh & Shanahan, Timothy. (2001). Phonemic Awareness Instruction Helps Children Learn to Read: Evidence From the National Reading Panel's Meta-Analysis. Reading Research Quarterly. 36. 250-287. 10.1598/RRQ.36.3.2. 



Elleman, A.M., Lindo, E.J., Morphy, P., & Compton, D.L. (2009). The impact of vocabulary instruction on passage-level comprehension of school-age children: A meta-analysis. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 2(1), 1–44. 2539200


J, Hattie. (2022). Meta-X. Visible Learning. Retrieved from <>. 


N, Hansford. (2021). Morphology: A Secondary Meta-Analysis. Pedagog Non Grata. Retrieved from <>. 



Graham, Steve, and Michael Hebert. Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve. Carnegie Corporation Time to Act Report. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education, 2010. Print.


HMH. (2022). Research Into Reading Research Foundations. Retrieved from <>. 

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