Online Reading Programs that Move ELLs to Proficiency
and Beyond

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Improving English Language Skills in Arizona’s Deer
Valley USD

When a group of Deer Valley USD English language learners used the Fast ForWord program:

  • 68% of the students with a state English language assessment score of Intermediate in the fall moved up to Proficient by spring
  • 22% of students who started at the Basic level moved up two levels to Proficient
  • All Pre-Emergent and Emergent students moved up to at least Basic, and half of the total group reached Proficient by spring

Fast ForWord: A brain workout to build literacy

The Fast ForWord reading intervention program can have a tremendous impact on the acquisition of the English language for ELL students and the schools that teach them.

ELLs often find it challenging to differentiate similar-sounding English phonemes. Because the Fast ForWord exercises boost the brain’s processing efficiency while they improve reading and language skills, they help ELLs hear the critical differences between sounds so that so they can make sense of the English language. Once learners are able to distinguish phonemes, they can more rapidly learn and comprehend both spoken and written English, building fluency, vocabulary, syntax, grammar, and other language skills.

This unique approach to reading intervention is what enables the Fast ForWord program to help ELLs make significant academic gains in just a few months as our school based studies for ELL students demonstrate.

Recorded Webinar

79% of ELLs Improve One or More Proficiency Levels In One School Year

Find out how 79% of participating students at Deer Valley USD in Arizona increased their English language proficiency by one or more levels in a single school year using the Fast ForWord reading intervention program. Presenter Cory Armes will discuss the results and give a live demo of Fast ForWord.

Reading Assistant: A reading coach for every student—anytime, anywhere!

The Reading Assistant program is an online reading coach that acts as a patient, non-judgmental listener for struggling, often self-conscious English Language Learners.  Using research-validated speech recognition technology, the Reading Assistant program “listens” to each student read out loud. When the student is challenged by a word, the online reading program simply provides an example of correct pronunciation.

Because the Reading Assistant program allows ELLs to privately practice reading aloud, receive immediate pronunciation feedback, and listen to recordings of their reading at their convenience, they can make great progress in less time than with the standard curriculum alone.

Reading Assistant provides extra support to ELL students in the form of pre-recorded passages read fluently by a professional narrator and interactive, multimedia vocabulary support. Emphasis is placed on sound prosodic elements.  

Audio files of each student’s reading are easily captured and archived, providing teachers and students with individualized before and after comparisons of a student’s reading. These archives clearly document a student’s gains in reading fluency over an instructional period, providing both motivation and reward for the student’s hard work, as well as evidence of progress.

“While the student may not remember how they sounded three months ago, the system will – and hearing the difference will motivate ELL students all over again."

In addition to these features, Reading Assistant allows the teacher to enable Spanish language support for any student. When this feature is activated, the glossary presents an Español button that can be clicked to display the glossary term in Spanish and play a Spanish audio file. The student also receives all program instructions in Spanish when this feature is enabled.

The Reading Assistant program provides US cultural content (Internet, skateboarding, US Constitution) and introduces vocabulary words that can be beneficial to ELLs. For more advanced students, Reading Assistant selections address areas tested in key American tests, such as the TABE, the NAEP and the SAT.

Recorded Webinar

Reading English as a Second Language: Challenges and Solutions

Dr. Virginia Mann discusses the benefits of early immersion in English, the need for phoneme awareness in any language, and the challenge of morphology—homophones, irregular verbs and nouns and vocabulary. She also introduces the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant programs and explains how they accelerate English language acquisition for your ELLs.


Reading Assistant™ Progress Demo

ESL student reading a passage for the first time.

Click the play button to start and the pause button to stop. Pause one Progress Demo before playing the other.

ESL student reading the same passage 45 minutes later.

Click the play button to start and the pause button to stop. Pause one Progress Demo before playing the other.