Our Revolution

Jayne Latty began teaching in 2001, but the First Words Fast story began the year she started teaching 1st
Grade in 2004, a year when students learning sight words is critical. 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 difficult word “plot.” Jayne applied that same logic to learning sight words. For
example, once a child knows the word “the,” it’s much easier to learn the more complex word “these” – and
from there, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to learn the word “those.” Jayne expanded that thinking to
other ways of making reading easier. For example, learning the relatively difficult word “said” is much
easier when it’s learned along with the word “red” because they rhyme – which also makes it more fun to
learn! So, from words written in colorful marker on note cards, and displayed in groups on the wall, began
the evolution of the First Words Fast revolution.

Jayne has always had a passion for language arts, beginning with writing storybooks that were put in her
elementary school library. The primary motivation behind her work is to make the world a more equitable
place by creating accessible pathways to literacy for all children. She advocates for those with challenges
like being on the short end of socio-economic disparity. These children are just as bright and talented as
any others, and they deserve to have equal opportunities in education! Her dedication drove her to figure
out optimal ways of teaching them, especially how to read. Of course, it’s obvious, you begin by instilling a
love of literature! She made sure her students were lavished daily with wonderful children’s stories
(especially the classics), and she would get to school early to create her own lessons to coordinate with
them.

Jayne’s conviction and creativity are behind her approach of compacting instruction into logical groups of
related material to make learning more efficient, and this quickly provided a missing link for children
“slipping through the cracks.” She believes many students slip through the cracks because of overly
complicated systems and dull “worksheets” that actually disengage children from learning. Children are
eager learners and usually receptive to new information when it appeals to their intrinsic nature of
wonder and joy. For example, Kindergartens should be immersed in painting, literally, not expected to
bubble in which color is “not a warm color.” And the extra demands of these overly complicated systems
make it difficult for teachers to have the time needed to help children reach their true potential.

Jayne brings simple, effective methods and joy back to learning. (It really doesn’t require a lot of data
analysis and testing to teach 2 + 2.) In fact, research shows that simple programs are more effective
in teaching struggling students to read, without impeding the progress of students who are not struggling
(details can be found on our Research Based page). And Jayne’s simple methodologies allow teachers the
flexibility to really differentiate – and the time to reflect!

In 2013, Jayne moved from the general education classroom to serving as a reading intervention specialist.
She was given complete control of the intervention program where she used her personal methods and
refined her processes for teaching fundamental literacy skills.

In 2016, Jayne completed her first prototype of First
Words Fast and traveled to gift it to a special friend in
Jamaica, Joyce, a teacher/school principal. During
that trip, Dan, a Peace Corp volunteer, happened to see the
program and word started to spread. A 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 respected research
university in Dallas, Texas USA. We are thrilled to report
incredible gains by the students receiving First Words Fast
instruction as compared to those receiving their regular
curriculum. Details of this research can be found on
our Research Based page.