Teaching Children to Read

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Teaching Children to Read

A competitive landscape has been completed for the 12 companies that teach children to read. ABC Mouse, Homer, Headsprout, K5 Learning, and IXL are the largest companies when analyzing them by revenue. One of the biggest drivers is the lack of individualized instruction in the school systems.

The competitive landscape may be viewed in this spreadsheet.

Competitive Landscape Highlights

  • Age of Learning, the parent company of ABC Mouse, has the highest overall revenue at $1 billion. They are followed by IXL ($100 million), Headsprout ($28 million), K5 Learning ($24 million), and Homer ($14 million).
  • Each company highlights a different aspect that makes them unique.
  • Homer offers a personalized learning plan.
  • ABC Mouse has over 9,000 activities.
  • CNK Digital offers a simulated live classroom.
  • Headsprout uses algorithms to assess mistakes and uses that to guide learning.
  • K5 Learning uses assessments to provide individualized instruction.
  • Hooked on Phonics uses books and workbooks in addition to their app.
  • Reading Buddy has a seven step practice protocol along with fluency software that analyzes mistakes in oral reading, and then provides individualized instruction.
  • IXL has uses adaptive quizzes to provide real time guidance.

Drivers to Purchase

Besides the most evident reasons of wanting to prepare a child for school and remediating skills, there are multiple drivers that would affect a parent's choice of investing in a reading program.

Lack of Tailored Approaches in the School Systems

  • Nearly 75% of the public is frustrated with the performance of the public school systems.
  • Teachers in the school systems are teaching large groups and do not often have the ability to provide tailored approaches to students. Online programs can fill this need.
  • Adapting to the unique learning styles and preferences of students can lead to greater achievements and better engagement.
  • High performing students and their parents tend to be dissatisfied with the school system. The school system must deliver a one size fits all approach, which leaves gifted learners unmotivated and needing challenged.

Irregular Feedback from School Systems

  • Regular feedback on progress of a student help educators see exactly where the strengths and weaknesses lie. Then they can develop programs that address the weaknesses or that enrich strengths. It also gives parents a better understanding of how their child is doing. This time intensive process does not happen as regularly in a classroom setting as it does with an online program.
  • For example, a 2008 study of Chinese teachers reported that the pressure of completing basic teaching tasks and large class sizes prevented them from conducting assessments.

School's Limitations

  • Many schools are unable to keep up with the demand for teachers, leaving classrooms understaffed.
  • Budget cutbacks and a continued focus on standardized tests leaves teachers strapped to a curriculum that at times can not adapt to what the individual student needs. "Public funding for schools is dwindling as the economy struggles to right itself. Schools are closing. Teachers are in a precarious situation with salary freezes and classroom sizes increasing. It’s left to the private sector to rescue failing school systems and to really leave no child behind."
  • 79% of parents feel that academic performance in high school is very important to the success of our country, therefore driving the trend for supplemental instruction.

Parents with Higher Incomes and College Degrees Are Most Likely to Invest in Programs

  • 36% of parents indicate their child receives some sort of supplemental instruction.
  • Parents with higher income and education are more likely to report that their child participates in various extracurricular activities This is most likely an accurate proxy for parents that would choose supplemental instruction.
  • Among parents with an annual family income of $75,000 or more, 84% say their child participated in sports, 62% say their children took music, dance, or art lessons. With income under $30,000, these numbers fall to 59% and 41%.