Reading difficulties impact the daily lives and academic success of tens of thousands of children across the United States. Early identification and intervention for these children has the potential to tackle reading difficulties early before secondary psychological implications, such low-self-esteem, can manifest. However, early and evidence-based screening for reading disabilities is not widely accessible, in part due to cost, lack of trained professionals and other resource requirements. Current digital technology provides a unique opportunity to leverage the affordances of mobile apps to support widespread screening for risk for reading disabilities.


We developed a 15-20 minute app that uses a gamified, interactive storyline to assess a child on six early indicators of later reading performance, based on Dr. Nadine Gaab’s 12 years of research on the best early predictors of reading difficulties. It is an easy, quick, accessible, and child-centered way to detect reading struggles in children prior to formal reading instruction, up to four years before most children receive a dyslexia diagnosis (3rd grade or later). The screener is comprehensive, age-appropriate, and designed to be self-administered.

After a child’s testing is completed, the app will generate a score report, which produces a risk profile. The app provides evidence-based responses to address specific deficits.

For more information about our app, please check out our website!

Detailed information about the reading competencies screened by the app can be downloaded here.

validation study

It is crucial that the screener is a true predictor of future reading success. A project to validate the app against traditional, widely-used paper and pencil assessments is underway.

We have established construct validity between the app and standardized psychometric assessments over the 2018-19 school year with 350+ kindergarteners in the Greater Boston area. Our team is currently collecting data in Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New York, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Texas over the 2019-20 school year to establish predictive validity of the app.