Origins of The Family Learning Company

The Family Learning Company, founded by Jon Bower and Peter Dublin, aims to tackle illiteracy by developing family learning software. Recognizing low literacy rates among students and adults, they observed the limitations of school-based software due to time constraints and parental involvement. They emphasize parental engagement, highlighting its positive impact on learning outcomes, similar to motivated immigrant families. Their software enables parents to assist children while improving their own literacy, accessible across devices and languages. The vision includes enhanced student literacy, integrated workforce programs, and corporate incentives for literacy skill development, envisioning a brighter future through literacy and family engagement.

The Family Learning Company was founded by Jon Bower and Peter Dublin in 2019.

Jon had previously built and led Lexia Learning Systems, Soliloquy Learning, it’s learning US and three other education companies. Peter had led Maestro Learning; building hundreds of learning apps for well-known publishers like Houghton Mifflin, Tom Snyder and Frog Street. In spite of their different experiences, they agreed on a few things:

  1. School outcomes (only ⅓ of students can read at their own grade level) and resulting adult literacy rates (less than ½ of Americans can read at the 6th grade level) aren’t good enough to support economic development and democracy,
  2. While skills development software designed for use in school works to develop literacy skills, there isn’t enough time in the school day to get real value from it,
  3. Teachers are far too busy preparing lesson plans, teaching and grading to take additional responsibility for software assignments, and 4. Kids are far too focused on video games, YouTube and other entertainment to spend much time on their own using educational software.

In addition, research shows that when parents are truly involved in their kids learning, it has a powerful, positive impact on outcomes irrespective of race or wealth. Just look at the children of immigrants whose parents push them in school – they often outperform kids from wealthy families born in the U.S.

Family literacy programs where kids and parents learn together also have great outcomes in terms of child literacy, adult literacy and family relationships. The problem has always been overcoming the logistics of bringing families together to learn outside of school, jobs, caring for other children and more.

Jon and Peter took their backgrounds in educational software design and invented family learning software to bring parents together with their kids with a clear role. The software is designed for parents to help their children learn, and also for them to improve their own literacy so they can get better jobs, and better help their children succeed in school. It runs on any digital device, from a Macintosh computer to an Android smartphone. It is delivered in at least two languages to help second language learners. Finally, it is affordable.

In our vision, parents who are more literate will help their children become more literate, and visa-versa. Twice as many students will read at grade level, supporting better outcomes across the curriculum. With an effective approach to remediating adult illiteracy, workforce development programs will offer literacy skill development as a central component of their job preparation programs. Corporations around the world gain an incentive to offer literacy skill development as a component of job training, and to pay more to more productive employees.

Literacy is the doorway to a more loving, productive and pleasant world. Family learning is the key to that future.