The Science of Learning Blog

November 1, 2017

Why I've Supported Fast ForWord for 20+ Years

BY Eric Jensen, PhD

An image of Eric JensenEric Jensen here.

If you have struggling readers, lean in and read closely. I am going to give you something worth thousands of dollars for free. Sometimes the things you and I take most for granted are actually among the most valuable. For example, are you a pretty good reader?

Even though I used to teach reading, I somehow took it for granted that I read well. But it’s rarely like that for your students. For example, when your students struggle with reading, what are the most likely signals? Obviously, it hurts your school scores, but there’s more. Can you see and feel the discouragement, frustration and even the internalizing of the emotions (“I can’t do this” or “I hate reading”)? When students read poorly, they often generalize it to other subjects (“Maybe I am just dumb”) and most things in school can become overwhelming. That’s painful to watch.

I would love to help you with your lowest performing students and there’s a solution that may work for you.  As a former reading teacher and science junkie, I’ve been shouting the praises of the Fast ForWord® reading intervention program for over 20 years.

Follow the directions, encourage the students and it flat-out works. Fast ForWord has been validated by more than 50 published studies in peer-reviewed journals and over 250 school studies. I personally know the neuroscientists that developed the program and they are “rock star” pioneers in their field.

There’s just one drawback.

If you ever shop reading programs around by price, Fast ForWord is nowhere near the cheapest of them all. Unfortunately, when comparing programs, learning leaders (instructional coaches, principals, etc.) often fail to price out the real costs of the alternatives (e.g. using instructional aids, having students held back, tutors and intervention specialists, staff who get burned out, etc.). Over time, those providers are often so stretched, that if there’s 5-50 students who need urgent care reading help, they are unlikely to get it. And if you do have dedicated teachers, how many can do the daily, dedicated 30-60 minutes a day of stellar deliberate practice intervention giving quality feedback, encouragement and still customizing the teaching for every child?

“You must be kidding,” you say. You’re right, not many teachers have the will, skill and opportunity to make the magic happen. When students struggle, year after year, more and more resources are not the answer. The right resource IS the answer. Now, I don’t know for sure if it is right for your struggling students. The only way you’d know is to talk to a reading specialist and try it out.

But maybe you think that would be too expensive.

Not true!

I would like you to take the opportunity to start a free trial just to check it out. Take your most struggling readers, your selected group of students.

Follow all the directions and do what is asked. The cost to you is zippo, nada and zero.

Why? Scientific Learning and I are so convinced that you would much rather have joyful, confident readers who make more than a year’s worth of gains in just half a year, that you can try the program for free. But this offer will not last long, so please, if you are frustrated and discouraged with your struggling readers, there’s hope.  I promise you that.

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