ReadTheory is turning 10!
As we approach our 10th year, ReadTheory is looking back on our journey from a small rural classroom to a worldwide education tool. Thanks for sharing the ups and downs with us!
The idea for ReadTheory began in a small classroom in central North Carolina. In 2010, ReadTheory’s founder, Tanner Hock, was working as a basic skills English instructor at Alamance Community College. While there, he struggled to find materials that were actually appropriate for the levels of his students. So, like every good teacher, he decided to just make the resources himself.
Over his time there, he quickly developed two things: a large bank of ready-made resources, and a reputation for sharing everything he made without question. To make sharing as easy as possible, Tanner hosted his resources on his personal website, EnglishForEveryone.org and sent the link around to his colleagues.
Accidentally Going Global
As he continued to create new resources, Tanner found that his small site was getting more and more visitors and that his materials were being utilized and shared in countries all around the world. He also noticed that the resources teachers seemed most interested in on his site were his various levels of reading comprehension texts.
In 2011 he officially began work on turning those individual exercises into an adaptive program. ReadTheory was born.
Starting Over and Over
Over the next five years, ReadTheory grew to include a team of writers and engineers who worked tirelessly to craft and refine high quality passages. The first draft of the site launched in 2015 and promptly crashed. It would take another full year of work and a complete site rebuild before ReadTheory.org was finally ready for the world.
While the site was originally focused on providing materials for lower-grades, the team quickly realized that learners of all ages were using the site and so refocused their efforts on crafting resources for upper grades as well.
ReadTheory Now and in the Future
In 2019, Ron and Josh took over management of ReadTheory. They’ve focused on improving the user experience for teachers and students. ReadTheory.org is now in use in thousands of school districts across the world with hundreds of thousands of students logging in each week. Throughout its entire journey from one classroom to thousands, ReadTheory.org was relied exclusively on word-of-mouth and teacher recommendations. We’ve never spent a cent on advertising; instead, we’ve shared our materials freely and counted on our users to do the same.