Something had to be done!
So, with a vote of 92-3 the Alabama state parliament enacted the Alabama Literacy Act beginning in 2020 to ensure that every child was reading at grade level by Year 3.
They nominated a task force to recommend a comprehensive core reading program and assessments to be used by local schools and that job fell to Tim Solley.
Solley is a kindly, bespectacled, grey-haired man who looks like he could be your kid’s soccer coach. In fact, he is a leading educational advocate and the Assistant Superintendent of the Madison School District which comprises 17 different schools.
Solley takes up the story:
“The biggest hurdle that we faced quite frankly, was with our strongest people who had the greatest understanding of the science of reading. They were the group that was the toughest to convince.
But once they saw that Fast ForWord does what cannot be replicated in a small group they got onboard. There are skills that a student needs to practise to change how their brain is working. You have to get so many repetitions at that granular level.
And a human being really cannot do that. They cannot replicate the amount of practice that it takes to change the brain.
Once our people, our strongest people started seeing that in practice, well they're the cheerleaders out there for the us now.”
One chance to get it right
When Solley started thinking about a neuroscience program, he realised that he needed to bring his school district along with him whatever program they chose.
“I met with our instructional team here at the district. I told them we're going to get one chance to get this right as a district so that we maintain the trust of our schools.
This is going to be something that’s going to be replacing things that have been used in our district for a while.
So I said, this is what we've got do. We got find what works best and not just what works.
And, there's a difference there. There's a lot of products that are okay, that in the right circumstances, in the right environment and the right time, the right kid. There are other things that will work to help children become more literate.
But we didn't need that product. We needed the one that really was the best product, was going serve the most kids, going to move the most kids, going to have the greatest impact on student learning and on our investment.
The research kept pointing to Fast ForWord
Our research continued to identify Fast ForWord as the best solution, it was everywhere we looked. And I mean, we tried to Google research and looked at Clearing House sites and all those sorts of things.
I think at one time, we had read 20 or so white papers on different research studies that were done. And, our research just continuously, everything that we looked at, kept leading us to Fast ForWord.
So Solley took the decision to implement Fast ForWord into all 17 schools in Madison county, one of the largest counties in Alabama.
The Fast ForWord program helps students develop the cognitive skills that are essential to reading and learning. It works on areas like memory, attention, and processing and is beneficial to learning in any subject and has data to support that.
A two-in-one reading and brain training program
The program was used by selected students in grades K-8 for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. It is a two-in-one reading and brain training program that targets the skills which are core to reading. It is also the only reading program with a virtual personal reading tutor that provides real-time, corrective feedback as students read aloud.
What Solley found was that about half of the kids (53%) who finished a Fast ForWord module moved up from the lowest reading quartile. They made reading gains of seven months in only 7 weeks use.
“The Fast ForWord program not only impacted reading, but student learning across the board. It helped our advanced students, too” said Solley.” Their achievement has increased as well as the achievement of our struggling students.”
Today, Solley feels justified in introducing the program because of the results they have achieved. Sometimes, it’s important to try something different, to move people out of their comfort zones and to always have the end goal in sight.
If you want to replicate Solley’s results in your school, then consider trying this AI assisted, neuroscience backed program, click the BUTTON below.