fast forword program

Fast ForWord Program

Neuroscience to activate learning

Fast ForWord is a learning intervention. It works on the root causes of learning delays, not symptoms.  It’s a series of age-appropriate programs, done sequentially in two steps:

  1. Cognitive and pre-reading skills – Foundations and Elements
  2. Reading & comprehension – Reading Level 1, 2, 3 and Comprehension

Each program has 4-7 quick-fire exercises, each working on one or more skills, making tiny incremental gains in brain function each day.

The magic of Fast ForWord is the science behind it. The selection of skills that Fast ForWord works on is based on years of cognitive science, and the exercises apply neuroscience principles (e.g., reward intervals) on how the brain learns, for all ages.

Gemm Learning provides Fast ForWord at home in the US and Canada with the individualized support and coaching.

  • 240+ research studies, 4 founding neuroscientists
  • 3+ million students in 40+ countries
  • Average gain of 2+ years in ~6 months

Who Fast ForWord Helps

Because Fast ForWord works on deep-seated and foundational skills,  it helps a range of delays.

It helps reading fluency and reading comprehension in children, teenagers and adults.  It also addresses learning difficulties, including dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and inattentive ADD.  And it can be helpful for autism.

Individualized Protocols

Each Fast ForWord program has 5-7 exercises – early programs build foundational skills, later programs focus on reading and reading comprehension. This Scope & Sequence PDF summarizes each program in the Fast ForWord series.

For most students, Fast ForWord at home, takes 4-6 months, on a 30 minutes a day, using a 3-5 day a week routine.

30+ Years of Research

Fast ForWord in an intervention that taps into neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change.  Its exercises create a ladder to higher function, new neural connections and consequently new learning abilities.

fast for word fMRI brain comparisonsThe changes in neural activity can be see in pre- and post-fMRI imaging.  Specifically, neural mass activity after training on Fast ForWord looks more like normal readers – there is more activity in the language regions of the brain when reading. The brain is relying more on language word memory, like a normal reader.

Fast ForWord neuroscientists were among the first to recognize that reading is primarily a language skill, not a vision skill. And so the pathway to improving reading is to improve language, specifically language processing – using step by step adaptive exercises.

The founders built on this initial finding over a 30 year period. The end result was ForWord, which incorporates cognitive research, neuroscience, linguistics and natural learning science.

After publishing their initial findings in Science, the scientists persuaded several world-renowned universities to contribute and review data in randomized controlled studies. These and other studies validate the premise that language processing skills are the key to better learning and reading efficiency.

Fast ForWord Results

While the average gain across all research studies is 1-2 years- including flawed studies reviewed here – our results are better, because:

  • We don’t accept students we don’t think we can help,
  • Our monitoring is intense –  more intensity, more gains and
  • Our students complete more programs

Find Out If We Can Help You or Your Child

Gemm Learning is the largest private provider of Fast ForWord at home in North America. To find out if your child is a candidate for our program, call one of our specialists at 877-914-4366 for a free consult.

Pronouncing Fast ForWord
Fast ForWord is a version of fast forward and so is generally said that way, fast forward. However, Marty Burns, arguably Scientific Learning’s most famous spokesperson, pronounces it Fast For Word. The idea behind the name is that by removing underlying impediments, Fast ForWord can quickly open the floodgates to higher achievement. The name evokes rapid acquisition of language skills. But it is an unusual name, often misspelled, such as fast forward software. Other names are fast for word program, fast for words, or fast forward.

After a reading gain of 4.7 years from Fast ForWord, mom shared, “On the final report card for last year, she was up in every class and all her teachers noted enormous improvements in her academic abilities! There’s still room for growth, but it seems natural age and behavior type growth like focusing on the quality of our work not the speed.”

Alicia L.

Parent of 4th grader, struggling reader



See how it works