OAKLAND, Calif., April 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After successfully implementing the Fast ForWord® program at the middle school level for more than three years, Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas has expanded its implementation to include all elementary schools as well. This year, the district rolled out the Fast ForWord online reading intervention to 15 elementary schools.
Developed by Scientific Learning Corp. (OTCQB:SCIL), the Fast ForWord program addresses reading skills and concurrently develops foundational cognitive skills like memory, attention, processing, and sequencing. These cognitive skills are central to all learning, resulting in improved outcomes for reading and other subject areas, too. Students using the Fast ForWord program can raise their reading skill level up to two years in as little as three months.
Harlingen CISD, which enrolls 18,500 students in 28 schools, began using the Fast ForWord program in 2009-10 in five middle schools to close reading gaps for struggling learners and students with disabilities. During the 2011-12 school year, the program was added to two elementary schools and an alternative high school. This January, the district expanded the Fast ForWord program to the remaining 15 elementary schools to support its early literacy program.At each elementary school, a minimum of 175 students work on the Fast ForWord program in the computer lab for 30 to 50 minutes a day. The program is used by diverse populations in kindergarten through fifth grade, including students working below, at or above grade level; English language learners (ELL); and students with learning disabilities. "This is our fourth year with the Fast ForWord program and we're very pleased with the growth we're seeing from students," said Michelle Everett, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. "As a supplemental resource, we think the Fast ForWord program is a fantastic tool. It builds memory, attention, processing, and sequencing skills in the areas of language and reading, so it impacts learning across all core areas. Right now in our elementary schools, we're seeing an average of gain of seven months in reading level in only 27 days of program use. It's meeting the needs of all our students and it's been a very effective tool with our special populations as well."