In Unique Times

Hi Everyone,

We are certainly in unique times as we try to negotiate our way through this year.  Just a reminder to all sites using Fast ForWord to support our students – this program continues to be online. Students can continue to work through the exercises assigned by teachers. And teachers will continue to see progress and reports from their admin consoles.

If there are any sites who wish to engage and offer Reading Assistant Plus, please contact me.

At this time, I’m reminded of a couple of things: Connections and relationships are important and so is ‘physical distancing’. Be kind, be calm and be safe. This is from Peter Reynolds (@peterhreynolds) who graciously gave permission to share this image. You’ll also find his YouTube channel ( very interesting.

September – A New Year

Back to schoolWelcome back from holidays. A number of items are new this Autumn. 

  • Foundations 1, along with error reports are complete (Last year, it was in progress.) 
  • Student Errors are in a single report making it easier to review 
  • Reading Readiness and the RPI have been upgraded to html (No more Flash!)
  • Usability of Foundation 1 and 2 improved – clean design making it easier to understand 
  • Reading Levels are in progress  

These go a long way in making the program more efficient at responding to needs. 

New Series sessions scheduled in the SD Calendar (08:30-12:00):  

  • Tues Sept 24: Start with Cognitive programs
  • Tues Oct 8: Reading Levels – Linking reading skills; Reading Assistant -fluency/comprehension 
  • Tues Jan 21 – Reports and Interventions 

These sessions are for anyone interested in using the program to support struggling readers. Workshops include beginning the program, jumpstart for those who are looking for a refresher and for those seeking updated interventions and reports review. Please email if you have any questions. 

O365 Resources:

All students have access to O365. This suite includes a group of tools (Immersive Reader – text-to-speech, Dictate – speech-to-text, pictorial dictionary…), which is a great complement for all learners, but especially for students who struggle with reading or writing. Support is available if you wish to delve further.

New on the Horizon

So many exciting things have been happening with our students’ learning that it’s hard to keep up. 

Updates on Intervention Practices: 

  • If you haven’t recently looked at our Interventions page, you’ll be happily surprised there are new connected activities for you. If you need assistance, please email me. 
  • Consistent review of your data reports goes a long way towards supporting student growth. It’s all about present and next steps – “feed forward”

Introduction to the NEW FAST FORWORD: 

  • Get a sneak peek at the new and extremely much improved Fast ForWord set to launch in September. Yes, it has taken a while but they’ve taken all the active data from every site internationally, designed new features and tweaked out the old. Recently, I had a chance to see the new program at the conference and I think you’ll like what you see.  
  • If you would like to get a better idea of what’s coming, please consider registering for the live webinar on APRIL 19TH (12:00-1:00 pm). Click HERE to register.  Registration will also allow access to a download link that you can watch at a later time.  

Yearend Process: 

  • Time to celebrate the hard work and as always continue connecting strategies (eg. resilience, tenacity, reading) to authentic practices.                             
  • More information will be coming regarding yearend cleanup and processes. 

It’s October – What’s Happening?

October has entered with stormy weather (I think there’s a song about this..). And as we watch the leaves change colour and blow in the wind, we’ve been able to connect with returning students as well as get to know new students and staff. 

This is a significantly busy month in Fast ForWord. Learning sessions and refreshers have started and again our Coquitlam partners joined us so we’re one big happy family. It’s great to be able to share and gain additional perspectives. And a huge welcome to our new sites starting out on this journey. 

Reading Assistant has relaunched as Reading Assistant Plus. This upgrade includes focused word wall work (integrating well with our Words Their Way program), more stories, practice in fluency (one of the cornerstones of reading) and strategies to strengthen comprehension. We’re very excited that we can offer this to many more sites. Learning session for anyone on current and new sites are in the Staff Development calendar (Nov 2nd). 

I always like to leave folks with a little bit of wonder… This is a TedxVancouver (2015) video of Dr Lara Boyd’s (brain researcher at UBC) description of the wonder of neuroplasticity.  Now what questions do you have?