Jayne began teaching in 2001, but the First Words Fast story began the year she started teaching 1st Grade in 2004, a year critical for students to learn Sight Words.
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, combining her analytical skills with her creative nature to ultimately produce First Words Fast. And 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 says: Literacy is just part of my being, from writing stories as a child that were displayed in my school library - to being a nerd who actually enjoyed diagramming sentences - to being a classroom teacher and later Reading Intervention Specialist spanning over two decades in education. My favorite part of teaching was creating my own lesson, and the thrill of seeing my students not only understand the material, but experience joy in the process, literally gives me goosebumps!
Educators are overwhelmed with complicated systems, and students are uninspired and slipping through the cracks. The majority of students I served as an Interventionist were simply not provided appropriate foundational instruction. Teachers love the simple and flexible methods of First Words Fast, and fun and engaging lessons appeal to children who are eager learners when their intrinsic nature of wonder and joy are sparked. Moreover, overly complicated systems are making it nearly impossible for teachers to have the time needed to do what they’re there to do – teach! In fact, research shows that simple literacy programs are more effective than intensive ones, and we even won an award based that research and the resulting success students experienced in a pilot of First Words Fast (see Evidence-Based page).
I’m also passionate about leveling the playing field for under-resourced populations. These children are just as bright and talented as any others, and they deserve to have equal opportunities in education and to experience success in life. I’m driven to make the world a more equitable place by not only creating accessible pathways to literacy for all children, but by transcending learning to read to impart a lifelong love of reading and learning.
My philosophy and passion are resonating with educators, and I’m thrilled that the program’s simple, fun, and effective tools are being embraced with such enthusiasm. We hope that you, too, enjoy the program and bringing authentic learning and joy back to the classroom. Thank you for all you do to improve the lives of children! Jayne
Mr. Lawson is the Chief Executive Officer at First Words Fast.
Through his 36+ year history, Mr. Lawson has created and sold a number of businesses and has had responsibility for accounts up to £120M in the United Kingdom and $500M in the United States. Mr. Lawson has been responsible for creating and leading pitches to investment boards, including one where a $3M request became a successful $25M thriving operation.
Mr. Lawson began his career developing education software, while still at school, selling his first “Math Maze” product at the age of 16.
Originally from the United Kingdom, Mr. Lawson now lives near Dallas, TX with his wife and enjoys photography, poetry, and writing short stories in his spare time.
Larry is a technology executive with a deep track record in new business startups, product development, and digital transformations in early stage and Fortune 50 companies. Notable roles and achievements include IPOs at Sage Networks/Interliant and SoftPlus/US Interactive, startup CIO at BellSouth.net, and founder and leader of BellSouth Online, AT&T Convergent Services Product Development, and Insight Global’s Application Development Managed Services practice. Larry is staunch proponent of Agile culture and solid work/life balance with a personal motto of “work hard, play hard”. In his free time, Larry enjoys rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, skiing, mountaineering, mountain biking, scuba diving, running and weightlifting.
Scott has vast experience combining technology and sales with education, and holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education from George Washington University. He worked with IBM Education Headquarters and EduQuest, Tudor Publishing, and provided products such as The Imagination Station and Footsteps to Brilliance, with a focus on PreK through 3rd Grade literacy. He is proud to have helped raise achievement scores in schools throughout the southeast, including by as much as 400% in Title One schools. In his free time, you’ll likely find Scott on his boat at the lake, listening to live music with friends, or gracing audiences with his Karaoke talents.
Jayne shared her first prototype of First Words Fast with an educator friend in Jamaica where a Peace Corps literacy volunteer happened to see the program, and then word started to spread.