In reality, this is exactly how all curricula should be designed. I LOVE that the program empowers teachers to be professional decision-makers based on individual student needs.
Dr. Laurie Sharp
International Literacy Association Board Member, 2019-2022
Associate Professor at Tarleton State University
With First Words Fast, students’ learning is enhanced in many ways. I believe this is because the program truly sparks creativity in both teachers and students. Children love the rhythmic pattern of words, which makes learning fun while speeding along the process. First Words Fast ensures our educational approach to reading is child-centered, in order to encourage real life learning—learning that prepares our students for success in and outside of the classroom.
As it relates to teaching, I always look for a multifaceted approach. I first identify points of weakness for students (e.g. phonics, sight words, comprehension, etc.) and then brainstorm strategies to improve these areas. I’ve found, however, that this approach is limited, as it did not allow for the students to improve their holistic, overall reading skills because we were targeting only one area. First Words Fast is a complete systematic programme that doesn’t isolate the various components of literacy. An entire lesson can be taught within a 35-minute period, exposing students to and engaging them in all aspects of literacy. What’s most amazing to watch are the moments when students are able to reflect on and realize what they’ve learned—to read! I can’t wait until that light bulb moment occurs for each of my students.
As someone who’s taught literacy across various contexts, I feel I have a sound ear for solid resources, and this is certainly one of them!
Aside from a much-needed refurbished look at and take on the essential word-learning lists, the lesson concepts within First Words Fast are dynamic—they not only adapt to a differentiated teaching approach but also cater to various students and their learning styles. The harmonious and strategic flow of the lessons paired with the continuous reinforcement of the word chart platform help create a unique experience for all levels & types of learners.
To say the least, it is an integrative program that has the kind of conceptual learning for which young minds with such plasticity in the brain yearn. Jayne has truly taken into consideration what I believe to be gaps in other kits & programs aimed at teaching literacy, and that’s reflected in the research-based construction of her own word list alone.
It’s my belief that this kind & quality of work can only be produced by persons passionate about the learning process with the know-how to turn visionary ideas into practical resources & tools that can be used & mastered by others to allow knowledge the opportunity to expand to its full breadth & depth and reach its learners in an impactful manner—Jayne is definitely one of them.
I currently use First Words Fast with a group of students with various reading difficulties, and they respond wonderfully to the visual technique and emphasis on connections between high frequency words. Together, First Words Fast and the updated Latty List, have quickly generated and prolonged success compared to other literacy teaching programs. Quite simply, it gives students the tools to become their own decoding detectives.