Fast ForWord implementation guidelines

After considering the students you will work with, the goals you have developed for their growth, and how you will measure their success, you'll want to consider how to best schedule the program during the school day.

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Watch this video to learn about the scheduling options for your students, then review the sections below to create your school's protocol.


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Protocols and fidelity

Schools and districts that implement our solution are able to choose from a variety of usage protocols which indicate the number of days per week each student should use the program, and the number of minutes per day required. The validity of these protocols is underpinned by considerable research by Scientific Learning Corporation, based on usage of the program by thousands of users. Selecting the most appropriate protocol for a student or group of students must first and foremost take the student’s learning needs into consideration. However, other factors have to be considered as well, including staffing, class scheduling patterns, availability of technology, and the duration of time available for use of the programs. Choosing the most appropriate protocol to address these considerations, and then implementing the chosen protocol with fidelity, will result in the most positive benefit possible for the students.

What is fidelity of implementation?

As it relates to the K-12 educational process, fidelity of implementation is the delivery of an instructional program in the way in which it was designed to be used. Fidelity is more than just "adherence to the rules." Implementing our solution with fidelity is usually the result of a dynamic change process where all stake holders (teachers, administrators, parents and students) share a vision of what can be achieved, and are committed to experiencing that vision.

Best practices for implementation

To achieve the greatest gains, establish clear strategies based on the learning needs of the target population(s) prior to first starting the implementation. Examples of the issues that need to be considered up front include:

  • The days of the school week, and the time of the school day least likely to be impacted by disruptions.
  • How can students make up a day if they miss the activities?
  • The physical environment(s) students will work in (for instance, computer labs, classroom, home use) and their availability.
  • How the implementation will be supervised and the staffing necessary to provide adequate support for students.

Usage guidelines

  • Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant Plus products can be used simultaneously
  • Students may use Reading Assistant Plus at any time. When used in combination with Fast ForWord:
    • Add Reading Assistant Plus to an existing 5-day Fast ForWord protocol or
    • Alternate Reading Assistant Plus with Fast ForWord with a 3-day Fast ForWord protocol
  • Different groups of students can work on Fast ForWord, Reading Assistant Plus, or both
  • Students should use only one Fast ForWord product at a time, working through each product until earning a Switch or Complete status (does not include Reading Assistant Plus, which can be used simultaneously)
  • Students can complete their daily protocol in one sitting or several sessions
  • Schedules selected should reflect school & district goals for student gains
    • Students completing 2+ products a year tend to make better gains

Students receiving support in Tier 2/3, Special Education or ELL programs

  • Use for a minimum of 150 minutes per week (5 days, 30 minutes or 3 days, 50 minutes)

Pre-school and Kinder students

  • Begin with Fast ForWord Reading Readiness
  • Use 30-minute protocol, 3-5 days

Product use guidelines

Please see Product Use Guidelines for a detailed description of our recommended learner pathways for simultaneous Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant Plus usage.

Protocols for Fast ForWord, Reading Assistant Plus, and combined program use

The Fast ForWord solution is comprised of 10 individual programs. When a student take the initial Reading Progress Indicator (RPI) assessment, the program uses the test score (and other information like grade and ELL and/or SPED designation) to place the student into one of these Fast ForWord programs. The following table shows the average number of weeks it takes to finish one program based on the selected protocol. When the student finishes the first program, he or she will take a follow up RPI assessment and then move to the next program automatically.

The Reading Assistant Plus program also uses the initial RPI assessment to create a library of reading selections for the student. The Reading Assistant Plus program does not have the same weekly protocols illustrated in the table below, although you have a choice of 20, 30, or 40 minute daily sessions. If you have students using the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant Plus programs at the same time, it is very possible you will see your students finish one or more Fast ForWord programs during the school year while working through their Reading Assistant Plus library.

  • All Fast ForWord protocols have been tested and found to be effective for students at a wide range of grade levels.
  • Using a protocol that requires less minutes per week generally means that students will spend more weeks to complete a product.
  • The developmental level, individual needs of a student, and school and district goals should be considered in assigning protocols.
Fast ForWord Protocols

Fast ForWord days per week

Minutes per session

Minutes per week

Estimated duration




4-7 weeks




6-10 weeks




9-13 weeks

5 (default protocol)



12-16 weeks




7-12 weeks




12-16 weeks




15-22 weeks




20-27 weeks

Three ingredients for Fast ForWord program success: CAPs

Once the implementation begins, there are three key ingredients needed for maximum student gains in the Fast ForWord program: Completion, Attendance, and Participation - CAPs. By ensuring high levels of CAPs, your students can demonstrate significant reading gains.

  • Completion – Measures the pace at which a student progresses through the content, relative to that student’s individualized Completion Goal. Students should make consistent progress, meeting (or exceeding) their weekly Completion Goals. A completion rate of 65% or higher is On Target.
  • Attendance – Measures how many days per week a student is using the products. Students should faithfully adhere to either the 5-day or 3-day weekly protocol. Strive to reach an attendance rate of 80% or higher for the 5-day weekly protocol and 90% or higher for the 3-day weekly protocol. These percentages are considered On Target.
  • Participation – Measures the percentage of the scheduled minutes per day a student is using the software. This indicates the student’s time on task. Students should participate for the entire length of the Fast ForWord program session and a participation rate of 95% or better is On Target.

Three metrics for success in the Reading Assistant Plus program

Likewise, implementing the Reading Assistant Pus program with fidelity means that your students are progressing as follows:

  • Achieving a reading level high score from one reading selection to the next.
  • Reading at least 60% of the selections at the developing level or better.
  • Fulfilling the assigned minutes per week.

As your students progress through the exercises you'll want to track their Completion, Attendance, and Participation to ensure they are getting the most out of the exercises. The following links will open in mySciLEARN Help and give you an overview of the reports you have access to.