Fast ForWord Language
Fast ForWord Language, a product of the Scientific Learning Corporation, uses specially developed computer software to stretch out the sounds of language and provide children with listening practice in order to build phonological understanding and awareness. Your child plays a series of computer games, and as her ability to distinguish sounds improves, the software gradually increases difficulty and rate of speech until your child reaches a plateau in development or attains the highest level of mastery built into the software program.
An alternative approach to building listening skills is Earobics, which also uses a computer game format. This software is available for home use and does not require special training to use, and it is less intensive and time-consuming. This program will also provide your child with extra practice learning to distinguish language sounds and relate them to letters and words.
The program is very intense; students work with the computer for 100 minutes a day, five days a week, for four to eight weeks under the guidance of a trained clinician. Research shows that the program produces significant gains in phonemic awareness among children with weak skills at the outset of training, but results are mixed as to how well these gains transfer to other reading skills such as word recognition or whether children do better with this approach over time than with more conventional teaching methods.
The Fast ForWord Language program itself does not include reading instruction, so it must be followed up with other teaching. However, the developers of Fast ForWord have also created a series of supplemental software-based learning programs that include specific exercises for reading. Like the initial program, the supplemental software packages are intended to be used intensively over a period of four to twelve weeks, depending on the total time spent each day.