Fast ForWord® is an online intervention that dramatically improves language and reading achievement. It is different from other interventions because it was designed by neuroscientists who are experts in how the brain learns. It strengthens the key pathways in the brain that help children learn, so they can pay closer attention to their teachers, absorb information faster, and remember what they are taught.
Your child will be placed in the Fast ForWord program at the right starting level based on your therapist's recommendation, then follows a differentiated learning path that adapts with every click of the mouse. This ensures that your child gets the individualized instruction they need.
Fast ForWord helps with reading fluency and reading comprehension, and it can significantly help learning difficulties, including dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, inattentive ADD, and autism.
The Fast ForWord program addresses reading and language skills while concurrently developing foundational cognitive skills like memory, attention, processing, and sequencing. These cognitive skills are central to all learning, not just reading, spelling, and writing.
The Fast ForWord programs (there are 10) each have 5-7 games that specifically addresses one or more cognitive, language, and/or reading skills. Independent practice is overseen by your therapist and individualized according to your child’s needs and goals.
Fast ForWord taps into neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change. Its exercises ask students to make hundreds of increasingly complex decisions in quick succession. This creates a ladder to higher function, new neural connections, and consequently new learning abilities.
The Fast ForWord series applies neuroscience principles. One feature is shaping, stimulating higher function through more challenging tasks in tiny incremental steps, comparable to physical training.
Another important element is simultaneous activity, where skills are trained together in a way that carries over into daily life where learning is integrated.
The program creates changes in neural activity that pre- and post-fMRI imaging can measure. Specifically, neural mass activity after training on Fast ForWord looks more like normal readers with more activity in the language areas of the brain when the fMRI subject is reading. Because Fast ForWord improves language processing, the brain will start to rely more on language word memory, much like a typical reader.
After completing the cognitive portion of the Fast ForWord program, children move to Fast ForWord Reading, a series of programs to help struggling readers fill in their unique reading and writing skill gaps. Each of these programs is coupled with Reading Assistant Plus™.
Reading Assistant Plus™ is an innovative online guided reading tool that provides intensive reading practice. Learners use the tool to read developmentally appropriate texts both silently and aloud. What makes Reading Assistant Plus such an innovative reading practice tool is its use of patented technology that listens as each word is read aloud and delivers immediate support whenever a learner struggles with or mispronounces a word — reinforcing newly learned reading skills, vocabulary, and fluency.
Fast ForWord Reading, Levels 1-5, loosely correlate with grades. Reading Levels 1 and 2 build fluency, spelling and language structure, while Reading Levels 3 and 4 and 5 develop grammar, reading comprehension and writing skills, as well as building critical thinking and inferential skills. Reading Level 5 is appropriate for grades 8 through adult. Children move sequentially through the programs at their pace.
The Fast ForWord reading programs are for struggling readers of all ages. While some exercises are unique to one program, most exercise themes — such as spelling, vocabulary and comprehension — which help all aspects of reading, writing and learning are integrated in all programs.
Fast ForWord Reading Level 1
Reading Level 1 — for K to 2nd graders — works on early foundational skills such as vocabulary, phonemic awareness, and spelling, and it uses simple sentence completion exercises to develop reading accuracy and comprehension. It also features a left to right eye tracking exercise with essential sight words to build capability in both areas. Each exercise is hosted by its own colorful character. The primary goal here is help the struggling reader develop reading fluency.
Fast ForWord Reading Level 2
Reading Level 2 — for 2nd to 4th graders — builds on Reading Level 1. The spelling element of the program moves from phonics to spelling rules. The sight words include unconventional spellings and the reading comprehension exercises continue to progress. This program completes the reading fluency work in Fast ForWord.
Fast ForWord Reading Level 3
While Reading Level 3 uses a 4th to 6th grade vocabulary, it is the starting point for most adolescents and adults. It takes the thinking-while-reading skill development up a notch with Twisted Pictures, an exercise requiring the student to choose one out of four similar sentences to describe a complicated picture, and Hog Hat Zone that has missing words in sentences pulled from the classics — this helps reading and writing. It also introduces an exercise that builds metalinguistics, a dexterity with language — rhyming, seeing the nuances — required for higher level thinking, often an under-developed skill in struggling readers.
Fast ForWord Reading Level 4
Reading Level 4 — for 4th to 7th graders — is a smooth continuation of Reading Level 3. It has follow-on exercises for the main Reading Level 3 themes with a particularly strong grammar exercise to help round out student syntax and grammar skills, a common weakness in struggling readers and writers.
Fast ForWord Reading Level 5
Reading Level 5 is a challenging program for 7-8th graders through adult. It is an open-ended program that pushes reading and thinking skills as far as they will go. It has comprehension and passage-completion exercises that work on critical thinking, drawing inferences and abstract reasoning — higher level reasoning and thinking skills required in reading and writing. While the entire reading series works on reading comprehension with metacognition, it is a focal point of Quack Splash and several other exercises in Reading Level 5.
Each program in the series takes 6-12 weeks, depending on the student’s level. Daily sessions of independent practice is 30 minutes per day 5 days per week. Young readers who are struggling to get started in reading will take longer, particularly in the early, cognitive skills phase of our program, before moving to the Fast ForWord Reading series. All struggling readers will increase their reading fluency, comprehension, and meta-cognitive skills as they are consistently challenged and experience success at every level.