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To Prevent and Close Reading Gaps, Wichita Falls ISD Adds the Neuroscience-Based Fast ForWord Program to All Elementary Schools

North Texas’ largest district will implement the evidence-based intervention program to provide students with the foundational skills, intensive practice, and guided reading they need to read on grade level


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Hallie Smith
Director of Marketing
Scientific Learning Corporation
(619) 888-0887
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Oakland, Calif. — Sept. 26, 2017 — Research shows that struggling readers need 10 to 30 times more practice to catch up to their peers. To prepare students for reading success and provide the direct, intensive practice that struggling readers need, Wichita Falls Independent School District (ISD) will begin using the Fast ForWord® program from Scientific Learning Corp. (OTC PINK:SCIL) in all 16 elementary schools and one middle school this month.

As part of the district’s focus on early learning, all kindergartners will participate in the Fast ForWord online language and reading intervention. It will also be used by struggling learners, students with disabilities, English language learners, and other students in grades 1-8.

“Many children enter our schools with little or no early literacy experience, and they leave third grade still behind in their reading skills. Our goal is to close that gap early so all students enter third grade reading on grade level,” said Michael S. Kuhrt, superintendent of schools for Wichita Falls, which is the largest public school district of the 38 located in North Texas.

Developed by neuroscientists, Fast ForWord uses a unique three-step approach to deliver fast gains to struggling students. First, it prepares the brain for reading by improving the foundational language and cognitive skills that are often weak in these students. Second, it provides personalized, intensive practice on a variety of language and reading skills — more than any other approach or intervention. Third, it uses speech verification technology to support and listen to students as they read aloud, like a guided reading coach. Once these areas are addressed, students’ language, reading, and all learning improve quickly, and changes continue even after they complete the program.

“We like the neuroscience research behind Fast ForWord. The program directly targets the root causes of a student’s difficulty rather than working around these differences, and those changes in the brain are permanent,” said Kuhrt. “We also like the guided reading component, which helps students reinforce their new skills and build fluency and comprehension.”

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