Pocket Literacy Coach Asks, “Have You Engaged With Your Child Today?”

By November 16, 2010

Chris Drew is the founder of Pocket Literacy Coach, a new Chicago startup that grew out of his love of teaching.

“I have a PHD in English,” said Drew, “and I’m currently a professor at Harold Washington College in Chicago. I really love teaching and love helping someone get the light bulb to go off when they learn something.” (I pointed out this made him, ‘Dr. Drew.’ I think he had laready heard that one a few times)

That love of teaching carried over to relatives as well and when his sister gave birth to Drew’s niece, he had some ideas on lessons that would be good for small children to use in order to build the foundation for them to learn to read.

“A seven year study commissioned under the Bush Administration came up with a list of 11 principles that are fundamental to reading and writing success later in life. Pocket Literacy Coach has lessons based on those principles,” explained Drew.

Pocket Literacy Coach is easy to use and is designed to be that way. Drew says that the types of lessons break down into 5 categories and the lessons are tailored for each age years 2-6. “If a child is falling behind their peers, a five year old could use the lessons designed for four year olds to strengthen their fundamentals and help them catch up,” said Drew.

The service works like this:

1. A user enters their cell phone number
2. The cost is $0.99 the first month and $5.99/month thereafter
3. No Contracts
4. The lesson is texted to the parent’s cell phone at 5 pm CST, Monday through Friday

“Pocket Literacy Coach isn’t designed to replace the education a child gets,” said Drew. “Its more to remind a parent, ‘Have you engaged with your child today?”

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 28% of American parents don’t tell their kids stories and that 45% don’t read to their kids.

Pocket Literacy Coach went live May 2010 and has grown steadily since. Drew reports he is in negotiations with schools in several states to explore bringing Pocket Literacy Coach to them as a service for students’ parents.