The Fast ForWord Program

Adaptive, fast-acting and research-backed

Fast ForWord software offers a step-change solution, aiming to make reading more automatic, easier in just a few months. It achieves these results using adaptive exercises that address the most common causes of reading and learning difficulty.

Gemm Learning provides Fast ForWord to families working from home in the US and Canada. Our students access Fast ForWord online 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

Improvements in tiny increments, every day

Most learning and reading difficulties are caused by cognitive skill delays, particularly language processing and attention. As with physical skills, these skills will respond to exercise.

Fast ForWord presents quick-fire, adaptive exercises that get faster and more complex as skills improve, eventually reaching proficiency at natural language speed. The goal is to resolve cognitive skills gaps and build a foundation for all future learning. The software is fast acting because it aims to remove impediments that slow learning down.

Who Fast ForWord helps

Fast ForWord is able to help reading fluency and reading comprehension in children 5+ years of age, 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 makes reading and learning more automatic, easier. Once these skills are part of the student, they stick, the learning gains endure. This ability to help a wide range of students is what attracted Gemm Learning to the software.

Individualized Protocols

Each Fast ForWord program (there are 10 in total) has 5-7 games, each of which aims at one or more cognitive, language and/or reading skill. Gemm Learning creates individualized protocols drawing from this list of exercises according to your child’s needs and goals.

In addition, we account for your child’s schedule and availability in our Fast ForWord at home program design. Most students choose 30 minutes a day, 3-5 days a week for 4-6 months. 

Neuroscience-Based Software

Fast ForWord taps into neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change. Its exercises ask students to make 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 series 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 in a way that carries over into daily life where learning is integrated. Consequently, the gains endure.

fast for word fMRI brain comparisonsThe program creates changes in neural activity that pre- and post-fMRI imaging can measure.  Specifically, neural mass activity after training on Fast ForWord looks more like normal readers with more activity in the language areas of the brain when the fMRI subject is reading. Because Fast ForWord improves language processing, the brain will start to rely more on language word memory, like a normal reader.

30+ Years of Research

Fast ForWord software incorporates cognitive research, neuroscience, linguistics and natural learning science. By diving into the cognitive skills required for reading, the Fast ForWord founders identified abnormal temporal processing and language learning impairments 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 led this research over a 30 year period. They 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.

There have been 240+ Fast ForWord research studies in total, most of which show substantial student gains while on and after completing the program. Several studies however, did yield disappointing results for a variety of unusual reasons.  This include cases of inappropriate student selection —  not all children are candidates for Fast ForWord. In addition, a couple of studies imposed hands-off supervision rules (to “replicate real world conditions) that we know from personal experience will undermine Fast ForWord results.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of studies show gains of 1-2 years in 3-4 months. Gemm Learning students exceed this national average gain due to our higher service levels and our slightly longer average service period.

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.

Looking for Fast Forward?
Fast ForWord plays on fast-for-word, fastforword and fast forward, emphasizing fast results. By removing underlying impediments, Fast ForWord can quickly open the floodgates to higher achievement. The idea behind the name is to evoke 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.