Herminston School District Expands Fast Forward District-Wide after Seeing Average Reading Gains of 1 Year in 64 Days of Use
Oakland, Calif. — July 6, 2016 — After successfully implementing the neuroscience-based Fast ForWord® program in two schools and seeing average reading level gains of one year in only 64 days of use, Eastern Oregon’s largest district, Hermiston School District, has decided to expand its implementation to all eight schools, for select students. Developed by Scientific Learning Corp. (OTC PINK:SCIL), Fast ForWord is an online language and reading intervention that targets issues at their core, starting in the brain.
“Previously, we had multiple interventions. Each was helping a small cross-section of children but nothing met the needs of students across the district,” said Special Education Director BJ Wilson. “After examining several independent studies, we found that Fast ForWord showed the best overall effectiveness, and we decided to pilot it in two schools. We saw tremendous gains, and soon, teachers from other schools began asking for it.”
In 2015-16, Rocky Heights Elementary and Armand Larive Middle School implemented the Fast ForWord program with struggling readers and students with special needs. Students showed an average reading level gain of one year in only 64 days of use. According to Wilson, students saw gains on the easyCBM reading assessment as well. While sixth grade students grew 4 percent on average from the fall to the spring benchmark, sixth graders who used the Fast ForWord program grew an average of 12 percent.
“Students who have used the Fast ForWord program say they’re better able to read and understand what their teachers are saying, in all their classes. It has really boosted their confidence,” said Wilson.
Hermiston School District will use the Fast ForWord program during summer school and then roll it out to select students district-wide in the fall. The program will be targeted to struggling readers and students with special needs.
“Typical interventions usually give students more of the same thing that hasn’t worked before, or they give them extra work. Neither of those approaches works well,” said Wilson. “Fast ForWord is different. It is brain-based; so, you are not just targeting one skill, like comprehension. Instead, it fills in the holes and readies students’ brains to read and learn.”
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