Jayne Latty began teaching in 2001 but our story began the day she started teaching 1st grade in 2004, a year when learning sight words is critical. All educators know the value of teaching similar words together. For example, once a child knows the words “hot, not, pot,” it’s much easier to learn the more complex word “plot.” Jayne applied that same strategy to learning sight words. For example, it’s much easier to learn the relatively difficult word of “said” when it is taught in conjunction with the word “red.” So, from placing words written in colorful marker on notecards, began the evolution of First Words Fast.
Jayne has always had a passion for teaching beginning readers, especially at-risk students, and she was practically obsessed with how to teach concepts in the quickest, most impactful way. Of course, it was obvious, you have to start with a love of literature. So, she began by easily hooking the children on wonderful children’s storybooks, especially the classics, and she would usually arrive to work early to create her own lesson materials. In 2013, she moved from the regular classroom to serving as a reading intervention specialist. She was given complete control of the intervention program in her last assignment, where she used her methods and refined her processes for teaching fundamental literacy skills.
In 2016, she finished her first prototype of First Words Fast and traveled to gift it to a special friend and teacher in Jamaica, Joyce. During that trip, a Peace Corp volunteer, Dan, happened to see the program, and word started to spread. Exactly one year later, in September of 2017, a pilot of First Words Fast was undertaken in 4 Jamaican schools and overseen by Southern Methodist University, a renowned and respected private research university in Dallas, Texas. We are happy to report incredible gains by the students receiving First Words Fast instruction as compared to the those receiving the regular curriculum. Details of this research can be found on our Research Based page.