Home » Pendleton County Schools begin using Fast ForWord program to bridge literacy gaps

Pendleton County Schools begin using Fast ForWord program to bridge literacy gaps


OAKLAND, Ca. (Jan. 9, 2018) – For many students who struggle to read, the key to success lies not in more effort or practice, but rather in remediating underlying weaknesses that hinder reading proficiency. To prepare students for reading success and provide the direct, intensive practice that struggling learners need, Pendleton County Schools began using the Fast ForWord® program from Scientific Learning Corp. this semester in the district’s elementary schools.

“We have incorporated some excellent reading interventions, but far too many students still weren’t reading at grade level. We did some investigating and were quite impressed with the strong research base and efficacy of the Fast ForWord program,” said Dr. Anthony Strong, superintendent of Pendleton County Schools. “Another selling point was the program’s proven effectiveness in reversing the effects that chronic stress and poverty have on students’ brain development. Nearly three-quarters of our students are from low-income homes, so Fast ForWord will give these kids a boost to help them catch up to their peers.”

Developed by neuroscientists, Fast ForWord uses a unique three-step approach to deliver fast gains to struggling students. First, it prepares the brain for reading by improving the foundational language and cognitive skills that are often weak in these students. Second, it provides personalized, intensive practice on a variety of language and reading skills — more than any other approach or intervention. Third, it uses speech verification technology to support and listen to students as they read aloud, like a guided reading coach. Once these areas are addressed, students’ language, reading, and all learning improve quickly, and changes continue even after they complete the program.

According to Strong, another factor in the district’s decision was learning that neighboring Boone County Schools, the third largest district in the state, has achieved incredible gains since implementing the program.

“After implementing Fast ForWord, Boone County Schools saw gains of up to six grade levels in reading among struggling high school readers. The district surpassed state performance on End-of-Course tests, among other things,” said Strong. “We’re confident it will help our students as well.”

For more information, visit www.scientificlearning.com.