“Mastery of academic language is arguably the single most important determinant of academic success for individual students” (Francis, Rivera, Lesaux, Kieffer, and Rivera; 2006)
“Nearly three-quarters of children who are poor readers in 3rd grade remain poor readers throughout high school. These children are more likely to drop out of school and struggle to ever find self-sustaining employment.” (Steenson, 2014)
About the Program……………..
Fast ForWord® (FF®) is an individual software package focused on improving phonological awareness in parallel with temporal processing of students with abnormal temporal processing and language learning impairment, commonly used with the following students:
♦ Tiers 2 and 3 RTI
♦ At-risk or struggling students, including Title 1
♦ English language learners
♦ Students receiving special education services, including: Dyslexia, Specific learning disability, ADD/ADHD, auditory processing disorder, specific language impairment, autism
FF® is used to strengthen the skills of memory, attention, processing rate, and sequencing for children with a broad range of reading problems and other cognitive disorders. The program uses self-paced, computerized exercises, in which children identify speech sounds, for 30 to 100 minutes a day. The speech sound drills start with normal speech sounds that have been altered by computer processing to exaggerate differences, making the task easier for children with slower than normal temporal processing.
As the student progresses, these differences are reduced to make the games more challenging. This approach helps students with a wide range of language problems and develops enhanced phonological awareness. This enhanced awareness will have numerous benefits for their language functioning, especially reading.
We were fortunate enough to receive a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for the 2016-2017 school year. Dollar General Literacy Foundation generously helps out schools and non-profits that target literacy, especially, below grade level readers, readers with learning disabilities, English Language Learners, and students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
OUR GOAL was to achieve a minimum of half a year increase in reading level, ideally a full year. It is not uncommon for many of our students to have seen no success with reading for 2-3 years before enrolling, so exactly when we see, and how much, improvement will vary from student to student.
When looking at the individual improvement for each student, the AVERAGE GAIN was 1.2 years. We were happy to see that 45.7% of students saw greater than a 1 year gain and 20% of students saw greater than a 2 year gain.
We also noticed that 91.4% of students gained greater than 1 year in at least one of the subtests.
The subtest with the greatest gain was passage comprehension, where we saw over one third of students gain greater than 3 years and 17.1% saw over a 4 year gain.