Texas District Rolls Out Reading Intervention Across All Schools

Mansfield Independent School District in Texas is looking to improve achievement among its struggling readers with the help of technology. The district signed a $1.7 million contract with Scientific Learning to roll out the company's Fast ForWord family of technology-assisted reading programs.

Fast ForWord is a line of research-based, standards-aligned digital learning tools designed to develop cognitive skills to improve reading comprehension. It's targeted toward students who are characterized as struggling learners.

Mansfield ISD launched a pilot program last year in one elementary school for 334 students in grades 2, 3, and 4. Mansfield has since decided to roll out the program district-wide after seeing some improvement on student test scores. Bob Morrison, Mansfield ISD superintendent, said he credited a part of this to the Fast ForWord implementation, along with other changes implemented at the school.

"If I go to the gym, I get stronger every time I go. That's what Fast ForWord does, but it challenges your brain,"Morrison said in a statement released this week. "Lots of programs are trying to help children, but Fast ForWord builds connectivity from the front brain to the back brain. It's the connectivity that's the issue. Therefore, the more you do, the stronger the brain gets."

District staff will begin to receive training on the software this month and next. Full deployment will happen in the 2009-2010 school year.

Mansfield Independent School District serves nearly 31,000 students in 21 elementary schools, six intermediate schools, six middle schools, and four high schools, as well as one alternative education center and one career/technical academy.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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