Fast ForWord Program
Using neuroscience to activate learning
Fast ForWord is a very different type of reading and learning program. It works on the root causes of learning delays – not a workaround that works on the symptoms only. It’s an intervention that aims to make significant and lasting changes.
Fast ForWord is a series of programs, completed sequentially, in two sets:
- Cognitive, language and pre-reading skills – Foundations I and II (K-5), Elements I and II (older children and adults)
- Reading Level 1, 2, 3 and Comprehension – fluency, grammar and comprehension – program choice varies by age
Each progam contains quick-fire exercises that build up language processing, working memory, focus and reading skills to where they need to be for proficient reading and learning. The exercises are adaptive, pushing the student ahead in every session. These tiny incremental gains can add up to a significant gain in just a few months.
Part of the magic here is Fast ForWord’s neuroscience roots. The exercises use knowledge about how the brain learns, to accelerate learning for all ages. More on results here.
Gemm Learning provides Fast ForWord at home in the US and Canada with the individualized support and guidance of remote Gemm Learning professionals.
- 240+ research studies
- 3+ million students in 40+ countries
- Developed by four world-renowned neuroscientists
Who Fast ForWord Helps
Fast ForWord is able to help reading fluency and reading comprehension in children, teenagers and adults. In addition, it can significantly help learning difficulties, including dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and inattentive ADD. The program can also be helpful for students who have autism.
Fast ForWord is a series of programs, each with 5-7 exercises. Each program works on a step in a learning progression – starting with strengthening your child’s cognitive and language skill foundation and then moving to age-appropriate Fast ForWord reading programs that develop reading comprehension.
This Scope & Sequence PDF summarizes each program in the entire 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.
Fast ForWord in an intervention that taps into neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change when exercised or lead on a path the improvement. Its exercises present 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 program applies neuroscience principles. One feature is shaping, stimulating higher function through more challenging tasks in tiny incremental steps, like physical training. Another important element is simultaneous activity, where skills are trained together.
The 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 the subject is reading. The brain is relying more on language word memory, like a normal reader.
30+ Years of Research
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.
The early research done by the Fast ForWord founders identified that abnormal temporal processing and language learning impairments were common in struggling readers.
Therefore, they postulated that by improving phonological awareness through adaptive exercises they could improve reading and learning.
Four highly regarded neuroscientists, all with different specialties, build on this initial finding over a 30 year period. The end result was ForWord, which incorporates cognitive research, neuroscience, linguistics and natural learning science.
The neuroscientists were Dr. Michael Merzenich and Bill Jenkins at the University of California, San Francisco, and Paula Tallal and Steven Miller at Rutgers University. 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
There have been 240+ Fast ForWord research studies in total, most of which show substantial student gains. Several studies however, did yield disappointing results for a variety of unusual reasons reviewed here.
The average across all studies is a gain of 1-2 years in 3-4 months. Based on our internal testing, Gemm Learning students consistently exceed this national average gain because:
- We don’t accept children we don’t think we can help,
- Our service is full on – we have higher student participation – more intensity, more gains and
- Our students complete more programs with us.
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, fastforward.com or fast forward.
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