Why is Processing Speed so Important?
When a child has difficulty in school, one of the first accommodation that is given, and one of the last to go away, is extended time. When a child has completed his education, he is expected to work. Employers need to hire fast workers, as time is money. One of the important activities that require fast processing is reading, so that comprehension is not lost. The following activity is taken from Growing Brains Everyday. This first activity starts with rapid automatic naming of pictures and words. The 30 day curriculum of Say It Fast! Continues grows in difficulty and finally ends with naming of letters and sounds quickly, aimed at a typical 2
nd grader, end of year.
While working on RAN and fluency, this exercise is also working on processing speed in general.
Say It Fast!
Growing Brains Everyday Curriculum Sample
Download the entire curriculum and worksheets at
The purpose of "Say It Fast!" exercises is to increase reading fluency. Feel free to adjust the content of this exercises to match the material that your students are working on. This activity starts easy and increases in difficulty, but if the activity is too difficult for the students you are working with, feel free to stop, back up, and proceed more slowly.
Working with a metronome works well with this activity to help the student stay on task, work at a constant speed, increase the processing speed of the activity over time, and eventually sets in place the rapid naming skill that is necessary for good reading progress. You can even do choral reading to a metronome to increase fluency - just be sure to start at a speed that is not too fast, then slowly increase day after day, never speeding up before the student is ready. Do any choral reading in addition to this easier but fundamental work.
Today, start with the pictures on Worksheet 5.1. Set the metronome to 100 beats per minute. It sounds very fast, but you will be working every other beat, which is only 50 beats per minute, slower than a resting heart beat. The reason to use the metronome in this way is so that the students have a cue in between each time they name the picture.
Say: We will be working with the metronome and saying the name of the picture on the worksheet, every other beat. To help you, I will be like a conductor of an orchestra, and when I point to you like this, that is when you say the name. Let me demonstrate:
(in the example, do not say "beat", just let the metronome click for you.)
Beat, cat, beat, dog, beat, rat, beat, bird...
Practice one line of the pictures at a time until the entire class can repeat the line with you in beat and without mistakes. It is OK if they memorize it. At that point, you can go to the next line. Continue until 4 minutes is up. The goal is to extend the length of time that everyone is able to keep the beat. Some may only be able to keep the beat for 3 words at first. It will increase as the 30 days go by.
If you find that everyone is easily going well with the metronome speed set at 100, you may increase it to where it is a slight challenge. Do not make it hard for everyone; we are increasing the speed daily for this worksheet.