WWC review of this study

Improved reading skills by students in the Lancaster County School District who used Fast ForWord® to Reading 2.

Scientific Learning Corporation. (2005b). MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports, 9(8), 1–4.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: March 2013

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Alphabetics outcomes—Substantively important positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE): Phonemic Decoding Efficiency subtest

Fast ForWord® vs. Business as usual


Grade 3;
50 students





Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE): Sight Word Efficiency subtest

Fast ForWord® vs. Business as usual


Grade 3;
50 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

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    South Carolina
  • Race


The study took place in a K–5 elementary school in Lancaster, South Carolina.

Study sample

During the spring of the 2004–05 school year, 50 third-grade students participated in the study. The sample included one entire classroom of students along with randomly selected students from other third-grade classrooms. Twenty-five students were randomly assigned to the Fast ForWord® group, and 25 students were assigned to a comparison group. All study participants had used one or more of the Fast ForWord® products before participating in the study. However, none had previously used Fast ForWord® to Reading 2, the focus of this study. Approximately 63% of the students in the study school were Caucasian and 35% were African American. Nearly 36% of students received free or reduced-price lunch.

Intervention Group

All students in the Fast ForWord® group used the computer-based Fast ForWord® to Reading 2 product. The Fast ForWord® to Reading 2 protocol called for students to use the product for 48–90 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 4–12 weeks. Students missed the social studies and science portions of the school curriculum during participation in the intervention.

Comparison Group

Comparison group students used the social studies and science portions of the school curriculum while the intervention was being used with intervention group students. All students were using SRA/McGraw-Hill’s Open Court Reading for their whole group reading instruction as part of their regular school curriculum.

Outcome descriptions

The Sight Word Efficiency and Phonemic Decoding Efficiency subtests of the Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE) were used as both the pretest and the posttest. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

The intervention teachers were given background information on how phonemic awareness and the acoustic properties of speech can impact development of language and reading skills. They were then trained to implement the program, including approaches for using Progress Tracker, the program’s reporting system, to monitor student performance. Teachers were also trained to assess potential participants for the study and to assess student outcomes.


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