As part of the Mississippi Literacy-Based Promotion Act, all third graders are now required to take the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment, widely known as the “third-grade gate.” Students who demonstrate the ability to read at or above grade level will be promoted to fourth grade. Those who do not will be retained in the third grade, unless they meet certain exemptions specified by the law. To help students improve their reading skills and build the foundational cognitive skills they need to succeed, Mississippi districts such as the Lowndes County School District are turning to the Fast ForWord® program from Scientific Learning Corp.
Lowndes County School District will implement the Fast ForWord program this fall in eight schools across the Caledonia, New Hope and West Lowndes campuses. The online program will be targeted to struggling readers in kindergarten through third grade, including English language learners (ELLs) and students receiving special education services. It will also be used with struggling students in grades 4–12 as needed.
“We were looking for a research-based program that would allow us to take a different approach with students who haven’t responded to other interventions,” said Assistant Superintendent Robin Ballard. “Our goal with the Fast ForWord program is to give teachers an effective tool they can use to close achievement gaps.”
Fast ForWord uses the principles of neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to rewire and improve — to target the root causes of slow academic progress in struggling students and ELLs.