About the Fast ForWord programs

In this topic:

The Fast ForWord science

The Fast ForWord suite of programs provides a language and literacy intervention that uses the principles of neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to rewire and improve—to target the root cause of slow academic progress in struggling students and English language learners. The software was developed by neuroscientists to quickly improve reading skills while concurrently developing memory, attention, processing and sequencing—the cognitive skills required to read and learn effectively.

The Fast ForWord Language and Literacy series programs within this suite include a patented speech processing technology that enhances the speech sounds at early exercise levels, progressing to natural speech sounds at higher exercise levels. This technology includes two separate but equally important speech modification stages: duration extensions (slowing down the speech) and selective intensity increases (enhancing the intensity of the rapid transitional elements in the speech). Together, these technologies provide the auditory nervous system with an enhanced speech signal that allows the student to more effectively differentiate the rapid transitions in spoken language.

Duration extensions (slowing down the speech)

In this stage, the software employs a patented processing algorithm to slow the rate of the entire speech signal while still maintaining the speech signal's natural quality. For example, a word (such as bat) that may typically last 1.0 seconds in natural speech could last as long as 1.5 seconds after this processing is applied. By lengthening the duration of the speech, the fast speech elements (such as stop consonants) are further apart from the steady speech elements (such as vowels), which provides the auditory nervous system with more time to respond to the fast speech sounds.

Selective intensity increases (amplifying sounds in the speech)

In this stage, our patented software process identifies the fast transitional elements within the speech (such as the /b/ sound in the word bat) and then selectively amplifies those elements. By applying these selective intensity increases, the more rapid transitional phonemes in the speech are emphasized, allowing the auditory nervous system to respond more vigorously to the fast speech sounds.

Fast ForWord implementation

About scheduling a program

Each Fast ForWord product uses a specific protocol, or schedule, that determines which exercises are worked on in that product, how often those exercises are worked on, and the length of time spent working in each exercise on a given day. The Scientific Learning protocols have been proven to help maximize the benefits of the Fast ForWord products. By default, each of the Fast ForWord products presents two to three exercises each day, for a total of 30 minutes each day, five days a week. For those who require more flexibility, the software provides alternate protocols to meet different student requirements. See Fast ForWord program protocols for more details on protocols and how to change them. For tips on choosing the protocol that best fits your needs, see Fast ForWord implementation guidelines in MySciLEARN Toolbox.

Tip: Encourage your students to complete the Fast ForWord protocol each day. A consistent daily routine that allows for intense repetition will maximize the benefits of the exercises.

About completing a program

Fast ForWord product completion works differently based on the Fast ForWord product series.

  • Foundations II and Language/Literacy series. As the student masters an exercise, that exercise is closed and removed from the protocol. However, as more exercises are closed by the student, a closed exercise may reopen at the highest levels so that the student can continue working on the most important skills in the product. As the student continues to master exercises, the protocol adjusts the time spent in each exercise so that the student always works on the open exercises for the total number of minutes in the protocol. When the student masters the last of the remaining exercises, all of the exercises are closed and the product is considered complete.
  • Foundations I and Reading series. As the student masters an exercise, that exercise is closed and will not be visited again. The program adjusts the schedule so that the student is only working on open (incomplete) exercises. When the student masters the last open exercise, the product is complete.