Innovative business models enable entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s problems. Brite-Liter is a simple tool with a huge mission: Building foundational literacy skills by keeping the students’ visual focus, especially those who face learning challenges.
When his youngest son experienced reading challenges, entrepreneur and Pennsylvania College of Technology instructor Benjamin Kranz began looking into ways to help him improve his reading comprehension. After researching a variety of proven literacy educational techniques such as the Orton-Gillingham approach, Benjamin developed a simple tool he thought might increase his son’s ability to focus on words as he read. Within just seven weeks, Benjamin’s son experienced vast improvements in both his reading comprehension and enjoyment.
Benjamin knew many other children experience reading challenges similar to those his son had faced. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, 65% of fourth graders fail to score proficiently on reading evaluations. Benjamin wanted to share the prototype he’d developed for his son with other students, families, and teachers. Thus in 2019 he and co-founder David Boyle launched Brite-Liter, a company offering a simple yet effective high-tech aid made to enhance children’s reading experiences.
In this Q&A, Benjamin shares the story behind Brite-Liter and the mission to change how we can improve literacy for all in education.
Would you please briefly explain what the Brite-Liter tool is?
Sure. It’s designed to gently stimulate the visual cortex using a focused beam of light to place emphasis on letters, phonics, words, or entire lines of text. By projecting light in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, Brite-Liter helps hold a child’s attention as they read. We designed the tool to help encourage reading of printed books over screens, maximize reading retention in minimal time, and support shared reading experiences for kids and their families.
Why did you develop this company?
After I created a prototype of the tool for my son, we started using it for 20 minutes every night during our bedtime reading. In just seven weeks, we saw a major improvement in his reading capabilities. He not only felt at ease reading, but he also rose from the bottom to the top of his class with this tool. Seeing his experience, I wanted more students to be able to use the tool.
What educational expertise did you bring to the project?
We spent a year collecting input from a wide variety of professors and literacy experts who specialize in eye-tracking methodologies. We didn’t specify that the tool was for the special education sector, but rather conducted a broad information-capture.
Can you share about your one-for-one donation model?
Sure, for every Brite-Liter purchased, we donate one to a community, group or school in need. It follows a similar model to companies such as TOMS Shoes. Our donations focus on local causes and assisting schools, libraries, and organizations that have literacy initiatives in underrepresented areas.
What are your hopes for Brite-Liter going into the future?
Studies continue to link increases in children’s screen time to language delays, behavioral problems, and poorer overall cognitive development. Through Brite-Liter, we hope to empower students and their families, and to offer a useful tool in fighting the literacy crisis many people are facing.
Brite-Liter was highlighted in one of our recent Changemaker Showcase events, an hour-long session featuring five entrepreneurs who transformed their ideas into business realities without compromising their vision or values. To learn more and get inspired by some of today’s most passionate and innovative changemakers, watch the webinar recording!
Are you a mission-driven entrepreneur looking to grow your business? Sign up for Raise Capital on Your Own Terms: Build it, Fund it, Grow It, our virtual training on November 2-4. This three-day workshop will help you explore the structure, techniques, and insights to find the right investors and fund your business on your own terms. Register here!