reading intervention

Wash. district implements neuroscience reading intervention

Tool will serve students in general education, special education, Title I, and state-funded Learning Assistance Programs

In the state of Washington, school districts can receive state funding for a Learning Assistance Program (LAP) to provide supplemental instruction and services to K-12 students who do not meet reading, writing, and mathematics standards.

To accelerate student growth in reading and help students build the foundational skills they need to succeed in all subject areas, districts are eschewing traditional reading interventions and turning to the neuroscience-based Fast ForWord program from Scientific Learning Corp.

One of the most recent districts to launch the Fast ForWord reading intervention is Ocean Beach School District (OBSD) in Long Beach, Wash. “We had been using different reading improvement strategies but student growth had flat-lined,” said Amy Huntley, program coordinator for interventions, assessment and curriculum for OBSD. “We began looking for something different that could meet students’ needs in a more efficient way and that wouldn’t require one-on-one instruction from a teacher or paraprofessional.”

The district began with a small pilot of the Fast ForWord program in June 2015. “By the fall, our schools wanted to expand Fast ForWord because of the results they were seeing and because they wanted to get more students on the program,” said Huntley.

Since then, OBSD has expanded the Fast ForWord program to every school in the district. Fast ForWord remediates the underlying difficulties that keep struggling readers and English language learners from making progress. It starts with cognitive skills such as memory, attention and processing speed and works from the bottom up, using the principles of neuroplasticity. After Fast ForWord, students can improve their language and reading skills by up to two grade levels in as little as three months, simultaneously boosting performance across all areas of study.

“In the past, our interventions primarily focused on reading fluency but that doesn’t necessarily help with comprehension or other components of literacy. Fast ForWord allows us to hit a much broader spectrum of skills that students need to become good readers and to improve their performance in all areas,” said Huntley.

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Laura Ascione

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