Using Edmark Reading Program

Edmark Reading Program

Finding functional curriculum can be tough for students with special needs. When your students learn best through ABA, Edmark reading curriculum is a great choice. I’m going to give you a quick overview of the curriculum components, what a lesson looks like, and the extensions available. 

Who should use Edmark?

Students who are not yet able to decode, but who can discriminate symbols, letters, and words will likely find success in the Edmark curriculum. Edmark comes with a discrimination and pre-reading test to determine if students are ready for Edmark. There is also a mastery test to determine placement if your student already has some sight words. The Program Overview walks you through step-by-step on what to do and how to give the placement assessments. Edmark is one of the easiest to follow curriculums you’ll ever use!


What does a lesson look like?

Each student receives a Lesson Plan/Record Book which tells the teacher exactly what to do each day. There are several different components that are required depending on the lesson that day. (As a note, I do not use the digital curriculum, rather I find the hands-on materials best in my classroom):

  • Word Recognition
  • Picture Match
  • Phrase Match
  • Stories
  • Mastery Tests

And several components that you can add to the lesson that are purchase separately:

  • Comprehension Worksheets
  • Homework 
  • Take-Away Readers
  • Spelling
  • Software
  • Social Skill/Reading Games
  • Bingo


Lessons vary in length depending on the components that are done, which can be tricky to plan for. I typically plan for 15-25 minutes per student. Any lesson that takes longer than that I span over two days to help maintain the student’s attention. 

The lessons requirements are in white, and the optional components are in blue. In my classroom I’ve had success using the comprehension worksheets, homework and take away readers. I’m not a huge fan of the spelling, but other teachers may have great success with it!

Word Recognition

Each lesson starts with word recognition. Each lesson a new word or ending (-s, -ed, -ing) is taught. Students must not miss more than 4 words to move on to the next lesson. Mistakes are recorded in the lesson plan/record book. Record the date and words missed.

The word recognition lessons have 3 columns, A, B, and C. Each line is numbered, then an *, a (first column), b (second column), or c (third column) is listed next to the number. An * means you give the prompt “read”. When the number is listed with a letter, you ask for the letter in that column (1b you’d ask for the word in the second column) by saying “Point to  ____” and then you follow with “Read ____”. 

Picture Match

Many lessons have a picture match. For this activity, you use a large mat with phrases on them. The student reads the phrases and matches the picture cards with the phrases. Students will have to read carefully and problem solve along the way – many ask for specific items such as the ‘small apple’ or ‘green boat’. You can practice prepositions with the picture cards, too, by following the phrases (placing the flower card under the car card). For the picture I separated the picture cards so you could see them.

Phrase Match

In this activity, students will use a mat with pictures on it. They will read phrases then match the correct phrase with the pictures. 


Many lessons have stories to accompany the lessons. This gives students a chance to read multiple sentences and answer WH questions. Students can practice reading aloud for fluency, read silently and demonstrate comprehension using the questions and discussing the illustrations. 

Comprehension Worksheets

The comprehension set is purchased separately, but I find it absolutely necessary! This is how I record grades in Edmark. Each lesson comes with two comprehension pages. I have the student complete these worksheets without assistance. Then I grade the worksheet and provide support when correcting the work if needed. 


While not necessary, the homework component of Edmark is simple and very little prep. Each lesson has 1-3 worksheets you can send home or do as independent work if you prefer. The tasks are meant to be independently done, so all you have to do is copy and send it home! 

Take-Away Readers

These short books are great for independent reading! You can send them home or have students read them aloud and check comprehension by using the questions listed for each reader. 


One of the reasons I love Edmark is the success it brings my students. Decoding, chopping and blending can be difficult skills for students with autism. The curriculum is research based and uses ABA techniques to help students succeed. Students who are non-verbal have a sign-language option included in Edmark (it comes with a DVD of signs for each lesson!) or you can use a student’s AAC device to support them. From vocabulary accusation to fluency, Edmark has you covered!

Jen Koenig, B.S, M.Ed., LBS1
Latest posts by Jen Koenig, B.S, M.Ed., LBS1 (see all)


  1. You mentioned they can’t miss more than four words to move forward. Does this mean if they miss less than four you automatically move forward? Currently, we are completing each lesson three times (more if words are missed) even if it’s all correct the first time. Any guidance would be great. Thanks!

  2. I love Edmark Reading Program. I also love their functional word series for my ID-Moderate students.

  3. Hi! My district just got this. Very excited about using it.
    Do you have any suggestions for math curriculum?

  4. I’m so interested in the functional word series! I’m glad to hear you love it. I’d love to give it a go in my classroom!

  5. I did some double checking in the Edmark Program Guide. The achievement criterion for word recognition is that the student make no more than 4 errors. If the student does not meet the criterion, do other activities until they recognize the target word, then go back to the word recognition. So in my understanding you do not need to complete each lesson three times even if it’s correct the first time.

  6. Hi, is this for non verbal kids too.please let me know how to teach non verbal kids.I am interested in buying.Thanks in advance

  7. Any chance autism helper might make some Edmark related resources?

  8. This is tricky… as much as we LOVE Edmark over here at TAH, Edmark and all of it’s components are strictly copyrighted.

  9. Hi,
    Is edmark curriculum good for non verbal daughter uses prologue

  10. my son’s school does not use edmark but unique learning system and he has not progressed .They just do sight words and won’t send any sight words for home.I find he is reading A to z emerging reading books at home somewhat when i told the teacher about it .She said its not scientifically proved curriculum .They , the district approved unique .I think they are not implementing unique also properly.They don’t provide password for parents for unique.I feel like doing homeschooling my son is nonverbal with limited speech.but receptive very good .So will edmark be helpful in his case.thank you

  11. Megan, I currently use SRA math curriculum and my students are successful with it!

  12. Yep! It sure is! It’s easily adaptable.

  13. I am not sure if you ill be able to help me or not=) I currently teach functional skills and would LOVE to use the Ed Mark Series and think it would help my students out a lot! However, my county will NOT purchase curriculum specifically for my students. Is there a grant that I could apply for so that I could get it? Any help would be wonderful!

  14. Try!

  15. How do I assess a student that is non verbal for the word recognition or any area that is asking them to speak the word back to me? Both students are non verbal and do not use sign language. They are both 1st grade students.
    Thank you

  16. This was a really nice walk-through about how the system is taught and what is included! I have not been able to figure this out on all the sales websites that come up when you search Edmark. Thank You

  17. Happy to hear that! Thanks for reading 🙂

  18. You mention the comprehension worksheets, the homework, and the take away readers- where can I find those to go along with the Edmark curriculum and program?

  19. Sarah,
    I am also looking into this for my students, who are non-verbal. I would assess them by holding up two cards, one with the word being assessed (such as “they”), and one with something else (like “boy”), and tell the student, “Touch the word, “they.” I might would repeat that 2 or 3 times with a different secondary word, just to ensure it wasn’t a fluke or hand preference. Just my 2 cents!

  20. When I use this with non-verbal students, I give them a field of several (3 for beginning levels, 5 as they increase ability, then up to a high array) and have them point to the word I speak. You can also have them match the word to a corresponding picture. If student is able, give them an array of a words with correct and incorrect spelling and have them point to best. While I realize this really assesses receptive language, once you begin to build on words, you can have them put together sentences as you state the words or have them match the phrases with their pictures (part of the program).

  21. I just want to say thank you. This blog was super helpful!

  22. Great to hear it’s been helpful! Thanks for reading 🙂

  23. Hello,
    I am a mom and a teacher. I desperately want to teach my 15 year old autistic child how to read! He is has a great memory, and he has had success with Edmark, but his current school doesn’t use it! Do you have any suggestions as to where I can buy it or even if someone has an old out of date version of it? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

  24. How are you using Edmark with the COVID situation. What does it look like to use Edmark over an ipad?

  25. Hi Nadene, Jen’s working on a post on Edmark online! Thanks for reading 🙂

  26. How do you find the phrases that match the large phrase card? On the small cards – the phrases are just numbered and I am not sure which lesson they go with. Please help.

  27. On the large phrase match mat, look on the side without pictures. It should say “Phrase Match” on the top left. On the upper right hand corner in small print it will tell you which cards to use.

  28. Hello!
    I would like to try this program with one of my students. Someone dug a very old Edmark program out of the trash for me. Do you know if the very old program is the same as this newer one for the most part? Also….the teacher’s manual is missing in this box. If I basically did what you outlined above, would this basically be the program? Thank you!

  29. Have you written IEP goals related to this program? If so, what are some examples?

  30. Do you have any advice or examples of IEP goals and objectives you could write for reading using Edmark but not specifically naming it in the goal?

  31. First, I love that you aren’t naming specific curriculum in your IEP goals! Nice work! As for goals that align with any curriculum, look at the skills that the student is learning and will learn as they work through the curriculum. For Edmark this could be a fluency goal, sight word goal, WH questions using the story component, phrase/picture matching, or even comprehension using the story questions at the end of each story. I’ve even seen running records done using the stories! Just focus on what the child’s deficits are and how the curriculum will help address the deficits. Don’t force the curriculum to fit the student’s needs.

  32. Yes! When writing goals that align with any curriculum, look at the skills that the student is learning and will learn as they work through the curriculum. For Edmark this could be a fluency goal, sight word goal, WH questions using the story component, phrase/picture matching, or even comprehension using the story questions at the end of each story. I’ve even seen running records done using the stories! Just focus on what the child’s deficits are and how the curriculum will help address the deficits.

  33. Hi Jen,
    Your information was super helpful. Does the program tell you what grade level a student is functioning on or would you have to a separate assessment for that? Thanks so much for your help.

  34. Hello
    I’m using the second edition and it does not include the index lesson list sheet. It was sort of a master sheet of where to go next. It was included in the first edition. Our students each get a lesson plan/record book but I still miss having that master sheet. Is there such a resource for the new edition or will I have to type up my own?

  35. Hi Sundi! Jen let me know she has emailed you 🙂

    Thanks for reading!

  36. If you go on teacherspayteachers there are lots of Edmark resources


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