Because I am the kind of Mom who is all about the fun, I had my two school-aged kids do Fast ForWord over the Christmas holidays. That’s right. I am a mother of a mother.
Fast ForWord, Language to Reading module now has version 2. So, all the stuff I posted describing the games is really just a waste. But the same principles are underlining the new games — sound discernment, language comprehension, processing speed, working memory, attention and focus. The visuals are much flashier (due to Flash technology) and the games a bit more entertaining. Still lots of rewards and the program keeps you 90% successful. There is also the addition of a best score feature for each game, so you can tell if you’re beating your previous high score.
The kids did about 12 sessions each. My 10-year-old son got through 33%, my 12-year-old daughter got through a whopping 75% of the program. So, if I was to take that pace and figure out how long they would have taken to complete the program entirely, my son would have taken just over a month and my daughter less than 3 weeks. That about doubles the pace at which they were completing the modules in the summer.
So, maybe they’re just getting good at Fast ForWord, or maybe they’re getting better at the stuff that Fast ForWord trains.
Hard to tell.
Since I last wrote an update there have been other noted improvements.
My son got his best report card ever (no A’s yet, but several B’s). His handwriting is slightly improved. He got to the third round in the school spelling bee. He finished the Harry Potter series and has moved on to the Narnia series.
My daughter’s report card is also improved although her improvements are mostly from C’s to C+’s. I’ve noticed a huge improvement in her writing ability–sentence structure, paragraph structure, handwriting, punctuation. When I read her writing, I can finally detect a train of thought instead of random thoughts thrown on to a page with a bunch of connectors and commas. She got to the fourth round of the school spelling bee. She finished her first big book — Twilight. She can actually read quite fast now. She forgot to read the book assigned over Christmas vacation “The Bridge to Terabithia” and then read it in less than 2 hours, which is pretty impressive. Of course, she can still miss some major plot points when she’s reading that fast, especially because it seems like her ongoing issue in many contexts is detecting the main point.
So, overall, there seems to be some marked improvements in several areas. It’s not like waving a magic wand — poof! brain issues gone! Would that were the case. But it’s certainly been one of the most effective therapies we’ve tried.
Update: Go to my Fast ForWord page to get all my postings about Fast ForWord plus some other useful links.