First Words Fast is a revolutionary supplemental literacy program, accompanied by the Latty List – an updated next generation standard list of sight words. It is a compact, powerful, and fast platform for teaching all foundational literacy skills, with a focus on phonics and sight words. It is simple and fun, and brings the joy back to learning – with research-based, proven results.
The innovative phonics system, which uses charming images and color-coding, is one of the keys of the 3-key formula that systematically teaches more words faster – three times the expected rate for Kindergarten and double for 1st grade, even for students with little to no prior knowledge. Learning is made more efficient by concentrating material into logical groups of related information. First Words Fast is for any beginning reader, with a unique layered lesson plan structure for Pre-Kindergarten through 1st Grade that takes as little as 20 minutes a day.
The program is also a perfect intervention for any student lacking skills, as well as English Language Learners. For some children, this may be the opportunity that transforms lives for the better. For the rest, it moves them from having “slipped through the cracks” to opening up endless opportunities. It’s flexible nature even allows it to be used as enrichment for students ready for to be challenged.
First Words Fast is based on a ready-made, interactive word wall, which also brings an enchanting ambiance to the classroom. The whimsical nature of First Words Fast captures the attention of children, allowing teachers into their hearts, as well as minds, where learning is relevant and meaningful, and therefore, most effective.
In the program pilot over the 2017-2018 school year, First Words Fast students were introduced more sight words, learned significantly more sight words, and outperformed students using the regular curriculum, at every level. The principles of the program also align with research which shows that knowledge of the most common English sound spellings, along with knowledge of the most common words, enable children to “independently read 90% of words in texts they typically encounter – putting them very efficiently on the path to reading…” (Castles, 2016).
Moreover, First Words Fast engages children on all cognitive levels – and not just the higher order thinking levels – but it first equips children with basic phonemic and word knowledge, which sometimes is overlooked these days as teachers feel pressure to teach at the higher levels. Our program first attends to the lower level of simply acquiring the knowledge needed in order to process information at the higher levels! Children are prepared, and then have the opportunity apply their skills, even creating their own texts – and creating is the most complex form of thinking.
Playful characters feature Shara Story, the ubiquitous word detective. She’s perched at the tip of the Shara Wand pointer, helping children to notice and blend sounds into words as she scampers across them, and she also comes as a super-soft plush toy mascot. The endearing and dynamic methods of First Words Fast transcend learning to read and impart a love of learning, because we don’t just want children to become good readers – we want them to become lifelong lovers of reading! There’s no better way to do that than to get cozy with a good book – and Shara Story.
Join the First Words Fast revolution in bringing the simplicity and joy back to learning!
Click here to read an article published about First Words Fast in the Texas Association of Literacy Education 2018 Yearbook.