It all started in a Wisconsin basement. In 1984, Judi and Terry Paul wanted their children to read more books, so they created educational software that would pique their children’s interest in reading. Their goal was successful and a decision was made: start a business and make their product, Accelerated Reader, available to classrooms.
Today Accelerated Reader is the most widely used K-12 reading software in the world, and the company, Renaissance Learning, has a new owner and a modern model providing cloud-based education software, including educational training, reading and assessment tools that are used by more than 20 million students and teachers.
Renaissance Learning’s products focus on math and reading, with programs teaching English and Spanish reading comprehension for children and adults. Students and teachers can track their progress online, with products like the Accelerated Reader helping students keep track of their reading assignments, work completed and quiz scores.
Many teachers consider Renaissance Learning to be more of a teaching assistant than a company because of the hands-on approach RL gives and the dedication RL has to their customers. Renaissance Learning’s website states that, “We believe that education is a basic human right, and that, given the appropriate educational approach, virtually everyone can be a successful learner.”
Their focus on relationships with their customers and employees has garnered them positive attention, most recently from Google Capital. The investment fund has purchased a minority stake in the company, valuing it at $1 billion. This is Google’s first investment in education, and another major accomplishment for a company continuing to change education for the better.