Starter Company Plus Spotlight: The Active Reader
Look out – Rebecca and Robyn of The Active Reader are changing the game when it comes to children’s literacy. The pair founded their company after seeing major gap’s in the education system when it comes to teaching children how to read + play. With extensive experience both as teachers and moms, The Active Reader provides parents and other educator’s access to scientifically proven strategies + tools to help build a child’s reading skills.
Insert: The Early Reader Pack – a set of 30 structured literacy based alphabet cards, offering over 200 simple educational activities and hundreds of hours of creativity and engagement for children.
To learn more about Robyn, Rebecca and The Active Reader, check out the Q+A below.
What is your favourite part about being an entrepreneur?
Robyn and Rebecca love a challenge. They are not afraid of mistakes, failure or criticism and instead use it as fuel to help them grow and improve. They love building community, being creative and breaking down barriers and The Active Reader allows them to do all of that. Being entrepreneurs has allowed them to explore their passions while making their own decisions and having control over their working hours. It has allowed them to balance their time between work life and home life and enabled them to be more actively engaged in their children’s daily lives and learning.
What inspired you to start your business?
When Rebecca had her daughter, she started to question how she would learn how to read and what she should be teaching her at home. Aside from reading bedtime stories, she realized that she lacked this knowledge despite her qualifications as a teacher. She reflected on her time at teacher’s college and in her practicums and her time as a full time teacher and realized that she had not been taught how to break down reading and had no idea where to start with a child. She also searched the product world and noticed a huge gap in what was available for parents and saw the opportunity to do something. Robyn had already been doing great things in the literacy space so she approached her with an idea and The Active Reader was born!
What services or product(s) do you offer?
The Early Reader Pack is our flagship product. It is a set of 30 structured literacy based alphabet cards, offering over 200 simple educational activities and hundreds of hours of creativity and engagement for children. Caregivers and teachers are provided with effective tools and strategies that reinforce a structured literacy program. The pack employs multi-sensory learning and play to build a strong literacy foundation and positive association with learning in our children.
Why South Georgian Bay? What do you love about living and running a business here?
Rebecca moved to Collingwood in the summer of 2021, following her parents who have been living in the area for nine years. Since moving here, The Active Reader has had the opportunity to really take off. Rebecca has been able to make amazing connections in the vast entrepreneurial community that exists in the area. Through SBEC and The Georgian Bay Accelerator, they have received their first business grant and been connected with mentor and coaches who are helping to develop a growth and expansion plan for the company. They feel so fortunate to have entered this community and can’t wait to see where this experience takes them.
Who do you look up to for ideas and inspiration?
Robyn and Rebecca have a very strong partnership and enjoy looking to each other for ideas and inspiration. After meeting in first year university, they have been good friends for 20 years. They have a very strong friendship and professionally they balance each other out and fill in each other’s gaps.
What are you favourite local spots to visit on a day off?
Rebecca loves to frequent Gibson’s whether it be to work at the bar during the day, taking her kids for lunch on a day off or taking friends out in the evening. You will also find her by the water at Sunset Point or exploring the hiking trails around Collingwood.
What is your favorite weekend trip?
Rebecca and Robyn often visit each other on the weekends – Rebecca living in Collingwood and Robyn living in Lindsay, they often visit each other in their perspective home. They also often meet for dinner with friends in Toronto or head up to Rebecca’s cottage in Parry Sound.
What is your favorite job you’ve ever had and why?
Their favourite job they’ve ever had would have to be creating and running The Active Reader. They believe they are in the right place at the right time and have created an incredible product that will help improve children’s literacy skills. It’s pretty amazing to be helping others while doing something you love.
Where do you see the business heading in the next 5 years?
Rebecca and Robyn dream that over the next five years, The Active Reader will become a household name. They plan to spend the next year scaling the business and exploring an expansion plan and are hopeful that it will open up some great opportunities for the company.
Check them out!