Introducing Reader Zone

A big part of our mission as a company is adding value to the efforts that educators and families place into helping children build positive reading habits.

The job of helping children build reading skills and become life-long readers belongs first to the family, and second to the school.  Like nearly all parents, I sent my eldest son to his first day of first grade and he came back from school with a paper reading calendar in his backpack with a letter from the school about how he needed to read at least twenty minutes per day.  Then, write in the number of minutes read on the day within the calendar.  At the end of the month, we were to add up all the minutes read, sign the bottom of the calendar and send it to the school.

This we did diligently.  By the time my son was in third grade, I began to wonder what happens when that calendar arrives back at school?  Where does all that data go?  What value are the teachers getting from this exercise if they receive a calendar back at the end of the month that’s nearly blank?

ReaderZone_Full_440x69I concluded that there is a better way in 2015 to collect and use this data.  And, I was a little tired of trying to locate a pen every night at 9:00.

I determined that technology offers a great solution for replacing the paper reading calendar.  I decided to build an internet-based system that allows a school, a teacher, a librarian or a family to set up a goal-based reading program.  Then, makes it such that participants in the internet-based program can enter reading data through a convenient app–No More Paper Reading Calendars!

The impetus for making Reader Zone was a little selfish at first:  I was tired of trying to find a pen every night and the wall above my son’s bed had about 850 pinholes where he puts up and takes down the reading calendar every night.

However, the real value that Reader Zone is for the organizer; a teacher, librarian, reading specialist or parent.  When they host a reading program, they can see in real time how the student is doing with a reading goal.  If the student is way behind on the 15th of the month, there is time to intervene and assist a struggling student.

The organizing entity can also collect all the reading data for a school, classroom or other reading group and make excellent incentive programs with it.  Best of all, schools and libraries can save untold amounts of money and paper by not printing and distributing the paper reading calendar every month.

Reader Zone went live on April 5th, 2016.  We’re excited that many schools and libraries are already using it.  We plan to continue adding features to the system to make it work better and better for educators.  You can learn all about it by watching the overview video or the how it works video.

I welcome your feedback regarding Reader Zone.  Please visit the website and email us your comments and suggestions.

Most of all, Happy Reading!


Jake Ball

Founder, Children’s Bookstore