INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Jonathan Blank of Reading Kingdom Tells Us About the Online Reading Program and the Effects of the Pandemic
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jonathan Blank: We’re doing fine. We’re fortunate to be able to work at home and to live in a place where the weather is nice, and we can spend time outside.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Reading Kingdom.
Jonathan Blank: I’ve always been interested in media and technology and promoting positive change. Before Reading Kingdom, I had another software company which developed tools that helped creators easily share media on the Internet as part of the internet video revolution. After I sold that company, I decided for my next venture to do something that helped kids. My mother is one of the world’s leading experts on literacy, and I turned her unique approach to teaching reading into web-based software. That’s where Reading Kingdom came from.
How does Reading Kingdom innovate?
Jonathan Blank: Currently, English reading instruction is divided into 2 basic approaches – phonics and whole language – both of which have astronomically high failure rates – in the US, 2 out of 3 students fail to achieve proficiency in reading. Reading Kingdom provides a new approach to reading instruction that addresses the significant flaws in both phonics and whole language. Since we initially released the program, we continue to innovate by using customer feedback and user data to improve the program’s performance and results. Even as we develop and release other products, we never stop improving our core Reading Kingdom software.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Jonathan Blank: Our company sells web-based software, so we’ve been fortunate to be less affected by Covid-19 than many other companies. It is easy for us to all work remotely and to continue developing, marketing and supporting our products virtually.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Jonathan Blank: So far we’ve been spared having to make “difficult choices” – knock on wood.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Reading Kingdom in the future?
Jonathan Blank: I meditate daily.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jonathan Blank: There are myriad companies that offer products in the K-3 reading space. We plan to thrive by offering a superior product.
Your final thoughts?
Jonathan Blank: Wash your hands, keep your distance, and wear a mask. Let’s beat this virus together.
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