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The EdTech Startup Show

Apr 18, 2019

This episode of the podcast is brought to you by The EdTech Shop – Copywriting & Marketing Strategy for Education Startups. Get more schools to sign up and buy with The 5-Day Copy fix. Click here to enroll for free.


Research scientist Dr. Carolyn Brown has spent more than 30 years studying the needs of struggling readers and has received support from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Education and the state of Iowa to develop and test strategies that work. She and Dr. Jerry Zimmerman are the co-founders of Foundations in Learning, a provider of research-based tools designed to assess struggling readers, address their foundational skill deficits and empower them to achieve significant gains in reading fluency and comprehension. They recently contributed an op-ed to SmartBrief entitled 10 Ways to Combat Middle School Reading Failure and another one to Hechinger Report on the need to connect cognitive science to reading instruction

Developed in close collaboration with school districts, Foundations in Learning’s premier product Access Code is an innovative blended assessment and intervention system designed for students who persistently struggle with reading comprehension and fluency. Using Access Code, teachers can diagnose struggling readers and help them develop automatic word recognition — the critical bridge between phonics and fluency. 

Episode highlights: 

  • The damaging assumptions our education system makes when teaching children to read
  • Just how critical it is to get kids reading well by the third grade (Carolyn shares some shocking statistics)
  • A deep dive into the “varied practice model,” a research-based approach to literacy instruction
  • Why Carolyn decided to use the lessons she learned in research to start a company
  • Carolyn quickly learned the difference between a research environment and the classroom – hear what she said about this
  • The reason EdTech startups need education experience and business operators
  • The “heavy lifting” technology can do for reading teachers (and why you can never take the teacher out of the room)
  • Advice to teachers and researchers who want to start an education business venture

Learn more about Carolyn's work here:

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 Thanks for listening!

Gerard Dawson