Use Neuroscience Tools


Use Neurosciences Tools 

What I would like to do right now is talk to you a little bit about some neuroscience based tools and that’s the Fast ForWord k12 program which includes two products that I’ll give you a little bit of information on. Fast ForWord addresses language and literacy needs and it’s based on the science that the brain can change under the right conditions. So, two things to remember about the Fast ForWord products, if used correctly, you get results quickly and those results last. I was a special Ed teacher for many years and what I saw with my kids was we tended to use the same program year after year after year, and the students may have made some progress but when they came back the following school year we picked up instead of where they left off the previous year further back into the previous school year. So, we weren’t making a year’s gain in a year’s time and then after my student some of my students used Fast ForWord, we saw a very different picture for those students. Because it was making a difference in their ability to capture process and retain the information they were given. Now the second program is called Reading Assistant and reading assistant basically gives a private tutor for students to have guided oral reading. And this really allows teachers to move on with the business of teaching. It’s really difficult today for a teacher to sit with a student for 10 minutes of oral reading, even a group of student’s multiple times a week, and so we can really eat up your school day, if you were to do that. But if you can have a computer do that service that private tutor for the students, then and capture the information that you need the running record type information, then that would be a huge help and that’s exactly what reading assistant provides for teachers.

So, we have three steps that we recommend with the Fast ForWord, reading assistant products to really help get your kids up to speed using a neuroscience approach.

The first is to prepare the students. There’s a difference between struggling readers and typical readers brains, and that is that struggling readers brains don’t process words and sounds as efficiently. So, if we can prepare their brains for reading by improving those cognitive skills we talked about, improving the perception of the sounds of English, both for our just struggling learners and our second language learners, then we can make a big difference for those students. Now we have research if you go to our website we have hundreds of studies but this one is an FMRI study that was done both at Harvard twice at Harvard and once it’s done excuse me once at Harvard twice at Stanford, and if so if you look on the left-hand side you see what a proficient readers brain looks like, doing a reading task so we see very specific areas of activation in that left hemisphere or the language center of the brain. If you look at the center picture of struggling readers we see a very different picture, they don’t have those clear areas of activation. Not that the brain is damaged, it’s just that it hasn’t been activated properly. Maybe they come from a poverty background and no one talked to them very much they didn’t get that language exposure maybe they had a lot of ear infections as they were growing up. So, different things can cause students to not develop those areas of activation. But then after those struggling students went through Fast ForWord for eight weeks, look at the third graphic to see the changes in their brain activation. All they needed was activation, and that’s what Fast ForWord provided the good preparation of the brain to be able to receive good instruction.

The next step in the process is practice. Students have to have good practice in order to develop good skills. And we know that struggling readers need 10 to 30 times the practice that their peers do in order for them to catch up. So, with Fast ForWord students receive personalized individualized and intensive practice on a wide variety of reading skills, more than any other approach or intervention. Intensity is the key to getting those enduring results that lasts. So, here’s a graph that shows the intensity of the practice in grammar vocabulary, verb tenses, prefixes and suffixes, morphology all those different skills that our students have to build. You can see the orange line it gives you the Fast ForWord experience and the blue line is another reading intervention. So, the program provides over twenty-five to thirty-five thousand trials in academic language exercises, where the other one was about five thousand. So, 5 times the practice to make a difference for those students who are struggling and need to catch up and catch up quickly.

We also have for the third step that reinforcement piece. We know that silent reading is not effective for struggling readers that students need to read out loud to improve their fluency comprehension and they’re reading expression which also helps with comprehension. So, with speech verification technology reading assistant listens to the students as they read out loud, and then provides a guided reading coach for them. So, they reinforce their new reading skills as they’re building fluency and comprehension as well as developing their vocabulary.

So, the key is tying it all together. Proficient reading isn’t just about core reading systems that you see listed there at the top half on the left-hand side It’s also about developing those mental systems and those cognitive skills. And that’s why many other reinventions don’t help as much as we want them to because they’re not bringing in the mental system piece. So, each of the intervention exercises in Fast ForWord and reading assistant cross train those core reading skills with the cognitive skills, that’s what makes the difference that we see in our programs. Taking the preparation piece adding the practice and then reinforcing those skills the application piece that is going to tie it all together and help the students develop automaticity.

So, we have products for k-12 from basic those really intensive cognitive and language skills all the way up to higher-level thinking skills and so you get a comprehensive intervention that addresses different reading abilities different skill levels all the way from younger to older student’s high interest low ability if that’s where they are. So, again the first two in each of these two rows elementary and secondary provide that preparation piece, building the skills in the brain then they get to practice in the reading products and then they get that reinforcement with that guided oral reading, that reading assistant provides. We also have a great reporting and assessment features so we have our online programs called Myscilearn and that is where the teachers can access the reporting students can be assessed automatically before and after they complete different levels of products. And it makes it very easy for us to monitor the learning progress from the individual level to the classroom to the whole school or the district. Different reports are available for different levels and I can tell you from personal experience in using Fast ForWord, I saw phenomenal growth in my students. I had 25 students who were receiving special education services and in a six-week summer program I saw those students make a year and a half gain in both language and reading assessments, simply by activating those cognitive skills and those language skills that they needed. So, I mentioned that we have lots of research studies on our website our programs have more than 55 patents in neuroscience and education and there’s really no other reading intervention program that has been researched as thoroughly and reviewed as much as Fast ForWord has.

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