MONTREAL – Paper™, the leading Educational Support System (ESS), today announced that it has acquired Readlee, an innovative learning tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and speech recognition technology to help students improve their reading skills. Master teachers, in collaboration with Harvard researchers, created Readlee to provide better literacy tools for students.
Pandemic-related learning loss is fueling a growing literacy crisis, with national reading scores at their lowest levels since the 1990s. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, approximately one-third of 4th and 8th graders can’t read at the “basic” achievement level – the test’s lowest level. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that only 34% of American high school students graduate with proficiency in reading. Proficiency levels decrease further to 18% for recent graduates of color. The statistics are clear, the literary crisis is a systemic issue, and the current approach is failing students.
The newly acquired Readlee will become Paper Reading, fully integrated into Paper’s ESS, and available to over 3 million students nationwide. The tool listens to students as they read aloud and provides immediate feedback, individualized support, and measurable success. The platform uses the latest in AI, speech recognition, and learning science, which shows that reading aloud improves memory, vocabulary, and confidence.
The addition of Paper Reading is part of Paper’s rapidly expanding ESS, which aims to support students throughout their academic journey and after graduation, regardless of their preferred path.
“This acquisition reflects our commitment to providing the academic support that empowers students throughout every stage of their learning journey,” said Philip Cutler, co-founder and CEO of Paper. “Improving literacy proficiency is an essential component of our mission, and we believe research-backed technology and repeated practice are the keys to addressing the mounting literacy crisis.”
Statistics show that students who engage in reading exercises 20 minutes a day are likely to score better than 90% of their peers on standardized tests. Despite this fact, nearly 68% of America’s fourth graders read below proficiency level, and 82% of those children are from families with fewer resources available. Paper Reading enables students to practice reading on any content or subject so they can practice reading while completing other studies.
“Literacy is the foundation of a transformational education,” said Drew Madson, co-founder of Readlee and Paper‘s Head of Impact. “A lifetime of opportunity is lost when a person can’t read. Paper shares our commitment to positively impacting the literacy rate and improving the confidence of learners across the nation.”
Paper’s acquisition of Readlee will allow the two companies to combine their expertise and resources to develop even more innovative solutions to the literacy crisis.
“Integrating Readlee into Paper’s Educational Support System as Paper Reading will allow the tool to reach millions of students,” said Steve Askar, co-founder of Readlee and Paper’s Head of Literacy. “ U.S. students face a literacy crisis partly driven by pandemic-related learning losses. Getting effective reading tools into the hands of students is a critical step to address the issue.”
“We are excited to join our forces and aligned missions to have an even bigger impact on students,” added Cutler. “Our teams are already working together to change the future of education. Our mission is to help create a world where everyone has the ability to read, learn, and become a success.”
Mission-driven educators founded Paper to help all students reach their full potential and gain confidence in life. Paper provides an unlimited, on-demand Educational Support System (ESS) that includes 1:1 virtual tutoring, a Review Center for writing assignments, MajorClarity college and career support, Paper Reading, and Paper Missions —a math gamification tool to hone essential skills. Paper’s highly qualified educators provide an instructional framework emphasizing inquiry-based learning to empower students to pursue lifelong learning and prepare for life after school. Multilingual academic support is available in English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin. Paper supports over three million students in over 300 unique school districts across over 40 U.S. states and Canada. Learn more or request a demo at paper.co.