Harlyn Pacheco and Ricardo Rodriguez, both one-time ELL (English language learners) students, understand how language proficiency and a mastery of basic core subjects is crucial to academic success, yet hard to reach for many students. They both started their educations in Spanish-speaking countries and had to catch up when they came to school in the U.S.
“We’ve been very fortunate to be the beneficiaries of very targeted instruction and be two ELL kids that were able to successfully pick up a new language and a new set of skills,” said Pacheco.
After obtaining graduate degrees and working in the digital and technical space, they teamed up with another friend, Stephen Ahn, to create an educational tool aimed at helping ESL and low-income students improve their literacy skills and help close the achievement gap.
Qlovi, a personalized eReader, is being used by more than 2,000 schools since it became available in January. It is designed to help K-12 students summarize their skills and proficiency in Common Core State Standards, and is available for students at no cost. The essays, lessons and quizzes are public domain, and the founders have partnered with different publishing companies so they can charge minimal subscription to schools and districts for access to a certain number of e-books per year.
The Qlovi founders were the winners of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge, and were finalists LAUNCHedu 2014 finalists at the South by Southwest Education conference (SXSWedu).