Online reading comprehension software.
- 1+ million struggling readers helped.
- Research validated results.
Reading Program FAQ
Logistics, outcomes and how we improve reading skills
How long does it take?
Most students take 4-6 months to complete our program, working 30 or 50 minutes a day, five days a week. Protocol length depends on your child's starting point -- younger children take longer in the early cognitive and sound discrimination sections of our program, while older children can go deeper into the reading program series later on. Time taken depends also on the severity of reading difficulties starting out, and your goals -- the reading exercises help reading skills that will develop naturally because of the improvements made by our initial phase, but which are accelerated by our reading programs.
What ages is your program for?
The earliest a child can start our program is 5 years of age. This is because there are interaction, sequencing and auditory-to-visual skills required that biologically are not developed at a younger age. While most of our students are in the 6-12 year old range, we do have a number of teens and adults, many of whom have seen dramatic gains from our software.
How will I know if it is helping my child?
You will be asked to complete a behavioral survey as part of our start process. We use this information, along with your initial consult, to develop a Program Plan and to set expectations for parents. Early changes are often language-related or behavioral -- more willingness to read, more confidence -- which will let you know the program is working. YOu should start to see improvements in reading fluency starting around 6-8 weeks after the start, depending on the daily protocol and the starting diagnosis.
How do I know if my child need this?
Reading problems do not go away, they just morph. The processing issues that impede reading skill development can first show up in early difficulty sounding out, turning into a fluency problem in later elementary school and a reading comprehension difficulty in middle and high school. If your child has had reading difficulty, do not take comfort from the fact that progress is being made. Progress will occur, but the inefficiency will remain. And so, in our opinion, any child who has had difficulty with reading at any stage will benefit from our program.
How is this different from tutoring?
Our program treats the underlying processing and cognitive issues that are making reading difficult for your child to master. Once these impediments are removed, most of our students go on to be skilled readers, no longer needed tutoring. By contrast, tutoring is a band-aid. A tutor can help your child get through the next test, or the next homework assignment, or even add to the teaching instruction at school. But it works around the underlying difficulty -- it does not fix your child's ongoing reading problem.
Gemm Learning or tutoring?
Do I really need oversight from your professionals?
This is not off-the-shelf software that your child can use to practice reading. It's an intensive intervention that is aiming to resolve your child's reading difficulties once and for all. These kinds of programs require frequency and intensity, which is where our professionals come in -- they act a personal trainers, making sure your child sticks to the routine, and as teachers, making sure the exercises are being done correctly. The history of off-the-shelf at home programs is not pretty -- people tend not to follow through. If you want the results, you need our professional oversight, and since our name is on the product, we only provide it with this oversight.
What reading skills are addressed by your program?
There are 41 different learning and reading skills, all of which need to function at natural language speed for efficient reading. The path to metacognitive reading comprehension has ample opportunity for interruption, difficulty in one or more areas of reading.
About a quarter of kindergarten age children go to school and just read. They can do this because they were born with a secure cognitive foundation. They learn the language -- vocabulary, structure and phonetics -- just by listening, and then transition to reading with ease. Our reading skills program exercises these important skills, aiming to turn our students into these natural readers.
Cognitive skills training
Reading and listening comprehension require complete automaticity in decoding and in listening. To the extent that a reader needs to concentrate on breaking down the words being read, reading comprehension is compromised. The brain can learn to decode automatically, but this requires complete language dexterity, i.e., sound phonological awareness.
Phonological awareness and reading
Spelling is more critical in improving reading skills than most parents recognize. Eventually every word becomes a sight word, mapped by the brain through recognition of spelling patterns. If spelling skills are inadequate, high level reading comprehension will be a challenge. Fast ForWord improves spelling, first by building a phonetic foundation, then spelling rules, and finally by tackling spelling exceptions.
Programs to help spelling
Reading fluency is all about automaticity: the ability to push decoding down into the subconscious, to make it effortless. If a child needs to concentrate to decode, then reading comprehension is compromised. In addition, it forces the brain to multitask -- decode and derive meaning -- which is exhausting and not likely to be enjoyable. Your child cannot improve reading comprehension without improving fluency. Reading fluency requires sound phonological awareness, good eye tracking, sight work knowledge, and language structure dexterity.
Improving reading fluency
Making sense of the text, understanding the main ideas, connecting the text to prior knowledge, are all part of reading comprehension. These critical reading skills and strategies require automatic decoding, an understanding of language and language structure, as well as the ability to think while reading. This is a learned skill, exercised thoroughly in each phase of our program.
Improving reading comprehension
Critical Reading With Metacognition
Good readers use sophisticated, metacognitive strategies. That is, they think critically about their own understanding as they go. All students need to improve reading to this high level where a reader is aware of his own cognitive experience is the difference between a good and excellent reader, an average or great ACT or SAT score.
Vocabulary & Language Structure
Most struggling readers do not have language mastery, in general because they need to concentrate while listening and reading has detracted from their ability over time to absorb and observe how language is structured and used.
Weak auditory processing skills can also hamper vocabulary -- longer words, or words with difficult to hear blends, tend not to be heard clearly enough to be used confidently. Our reading skills software assumes there will be vocabulary, grammar and sentence syntax gaps that need to be exercised, and closed.
Language structure and syntax program
Focus While Reading
Sound reading comprehension and good reading stamina require focused attention. This is an under-developed reading skill when decoding is a challenge. Our learning programs have several exercises that improve reading by building attention skills.
Programs to build attention skills while reading