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language-development

District rolls out ‘neuroplasticity’ language development programs


Implementation targets language, literacy, reading skills

language-developmentAlachua County Public Schools, a district serving 27,000 students in North Central Florida, has partnered with Scientific Learning Corp. to help students improve their language, literacy and reading skills by addressing the underlying foundational difficulties that keep students from making progress in school.

Initially, the district will deploy Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant online programs in 10 schools.

“Students’ development and mastery of language is critical to their success in school. One of the major factors contributing to underachievement is not having a mastery of language, which not only affects students’ reading and writing performance but their performance in other areas as well,” said Superintendent of Schools Owen A. Roberts, Ph.D.

Next page: How the district will implement the language program

“What makes the Fast ForWord program different from other language and literacy interventions is that it focuses on cognitive capacity development, rather than content, to address one of the root causes of learning difficulties. These unique learning innovations help students develop their memory, attention, processing and sequencing skills so they can be better users of the language of instruction, allowing them to accelerate their learning.”

Alachua County Public Schools plans to roll out the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant programs over the next five years to all of its schools. Each school will determine which students will participate in the programs, based on their needs.

Fast ForWord 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.

Students who use the program make fast progress, increasing their reading skill level up to two years in as little as three months. They continue to make fast progress long after finishing the program.

Reading Assistant uses speech recognition to correct and support students as they read aloud, building fluency and comprehension with the help of a supportive listener.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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Laura Ascione

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