First Nations and other ninth grade students struggling with literacy double their gains in reading skills


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Oakland, Calif. — Oct. 4, 2011 — In a study of ninth graders with demonstrated reading difficulties, Bonar Law Memorial High School in Rexton, New Brunswick found that students who used the Fast ForWord® Literacy and Reading Series from Scientific Learning Corp. (NASDAQ:SCIL) achieved significant gains in reading skills and outperformed students in a control group.  With more than 400 students in grades 9-12, Bonar Law is part of School District 16 based in Miramichi, New Brunswick.

While District 16 is well known for its progressive programs that address struggling learners in the early years, Bonar Law serves a number of students who are not strong in literacy, including a large number of First Nations students for whom English is not their first language.  “Students who enter high school deficient in language and reading skills need an expeditious way to catch up that will enable them to stay in school and be successful,” said Superintendent Lawrence Keoughan.  “We have had great success for a number of years now with Fast ForWord in our elementary schools, and we were certain that its research-based approach could help our older students as well.”

The Fast ForWord program accelerates learning for students of a wide spectrum of ages and abilities — including those working at, above or below grade level — by applying proven research on how the brain learns. By building brain fitness in the areas of memory, attention, processing, and sequencing, learners can realize achievement gains in as little as eight to 12 weeks.

Through a variety of criteria including teacher observations, test scores and other performance measurements, Bonar Law identified students who were struggling most with literacy and split them into two groups, one of which worked on the Fast ForWord Literacy Series and Fast ForWord Reading Series several days over the course of seven months.  In that time the students gained 1.3 years in oral reading fluency and 1.7 years in reading comprehension.  Previous gains with this student population averaged six to eight months.

Regarding results at Bonar Law, Superintendent Lawrence Keoughan said, “This was our first experience using Fast ForWord in a high school setting.  We are so encouraged with the results, we didn’t hesitate to launch the program again this year.”

About School District 16

New Brunswick School District 16 is located East Central New Brunswick, Canada. School District 16 is made up of 21 schools and three alternate sites. It is comprised of approximately 6,000 anglophone students who live in rural and small urban areas, as well as six First Nations communities. Nine schools in the district offer French Immersion programs to approximately 1,100 students from grades three through 12. There are approximately 436 teachers employed in the district. There are almost 600 First Nations students enrolled in District 16, the highest enrollment in the province.

About Scientific Learning Corp.

We accelerate learning by applying proven research on how the brain learns. Scientific Learning’s results are demonstrated in over 200 research studies and protected by over 55 patents. Learners can realize achievement gains of one to two years in as little as eight to 12 weeks and maintain an accelerated rate of learning even after the programs end.
Today, learners have used nearly 3 million Scientific Learning software products, which apply “Brain Fitness” principles to the areas of English language and reading. We provide our offerings directly to parents, K–12 schools and learning centers, and in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit or call toll-free 888-358-0212.

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