Our Mission is to provide early childhood and primary school educators with innovative and appropriate strategies and resources to implement the well documented Science of Reading.
Our Vision is to ignite in children a love of language and reading that will sustain them throughout life and give them the confidence to function effectively in the modern world.
Fast-track Learning is running workshops for early childhood and primary teachers, teacher aides and parents, in 2021:
Early childhood – setting a literacy blueprint through phonemic awareness
Early primary – setting a reading foundation through structured literacy
My story – Margaret Corner
I never expected to become involved in the fascinating world of early reading and basic literacy.
How it started
I started this journey in Hong Kong after leaving my New Zealand secondary school to become a Native English Teacher (NET) in a Hong Kong secondary school for 6 years. Following this, my husband and I set up an education company which offered professional development courses to teachers who at that stage were transitioning to a new ‘Western’ style curriculum. We were invited by one school to deliver a course on teaching phonics for older children. What??
Responding to the challenge
I’m not one to turn down a challenge and that’s where my research began. Not only was I expected to give guidance – I was also expected to produce an original resource for the school to use. I very quickly involved my Australian friend, phonics specialist and later close working colleague, to help.
This resource evolved through many stages and countries over many years, and the first package of a 5-level course for pre-school and primary is due for publication (by the Kenya government publisher) in 2021.
Motivation to form a New Zealand company
Shocked at the statistics and stories of declining literacy in my home country I am strongly motivated to share the teaching strategies I have learnt for what is commonly termed ‘structured literacy’. Fast-track learning company was formed.
Structured literacy benefits all learners
I have seen underprivileged children in an orphanage school in rural Kenya, and on the outskirts of a Nairobi slum learn to read fluently at ages 5-6, using our resource. I have also seen the same with children in a highly privileged school. There is little difference.
I therefore cannot accept the excuse often touted in New Zealand that low socio-economic status or lack of language rich backgrounds are the main contributors to literacy failure in our children.
Structured literacy is a leveller. Children from language rich backgrounds may have a starting advantage but that is all. All children should be able to read fluently by ages 5-6 if the principles of the Science of Reading are adhered to. There is an abundance of research in New Zealand and elsewhere to back this claim.
I am delighted to see that after a generation of ‘whole language’ teaching and learning, and declining literacy rates, the larger New Zealand education sector is waking up to the fact that there is another way. The path ahead looks exciting. Momentum is gathering. Watch the literacy curve as it starts to rise.