About Us

We work to close the Achievement Gap in Literacy, leveraging our unique approach to teaching English with TIPS™

Over the past fifty years, thousands upon thousands of studies have been done to support every method of reading instruction ever devised. A lot of this research has focused on the two core methods of literacy instruction:

  • Whole Language Approaches: which favor context and queues over decoding letters and sounds.
  • Phonics Approaches: which focus on the decoding aspect of reading.

Although the general consensus has been that the phonics-based approaches are superior, a number of recent studies show that this conclusion may not be so clear cut.

Even more importantly, as we state in our company mission, neither approach has driven changes in literacy scores across the US. Only 35% of kids can read at grade-level proficiency in 4th grade.

In summary, nothing has really worked.

Current State of Literacy

National Statistics
  • 25% of students can’t read at basic grade-level literacy and more than 50% read below the proficient level.
  • Even the 90th percentile of students in the US can’t read at what is considered an advanced level.
  • There has been virtually no change in this data for the past 30 years, despite enormous dialogue, advocacy, research, and funding for improvement programs.
  • Over 50% of black and hispanic students can’t read at the basic grade-level literacy.
  • Only 1 state out of 50 showed significantly progress between 2017 and 2019. It is guaranteed that the 2021 report will reflect the incredible challenges created by shutdowns and remote-learning approaches due to Covid-19. 
  • 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare and are 4 times likelier to drop out of school.
  • In the last two years, prior to Covid, the situation has become worse.
NAEP Reading Report Card - National Averages
NAEP Reading Report Card - Racial Inequality
Only One State Shows Improvement in 2017 - 2019

We imagine a bright future where virtually all children can read at grade-level

Our vision is utopian. Never before in mankind’s history has there been a country where virtually everyone could read. You can draw a direct line from learning to read to immesurable benefits for society. McKinsey put these at a whopping $500B a year, but the true measure is not financial. 

We believe that the best ideas come from a diverse and well educated populace. If everyone could read, we believe everyone would vote. We would have more active dialogue in politics, more advancements in science, better healthcare, lower crime, and a greater concern for the long term consequences of protecting our environment. 

We believe that unsolved problems require brand new solutions

That is why we decided to build a company that takes a fundamentally different approach to literacy development. Every system in the market today is based on either Whole Language or Phonics or a blend of both. They take as a fix assumption that we can’t modify what has been clearly shown to be the root cause of the literacy problem in the US: our language itself. If you break that assumption, the world is filled with endless possibilities.

Our Leadership

Zachary Silverzweig

Founder

Seasoned startup executive with history of developing innovative products that drive social good. Owns very dusty climbing gear.

BA, MS, Columbia University

Briney Burley

Curriculum

Educator, writer and curriculum developer with 10+ years of experience creating content for K-12 students.

BA, Georgetown University
M. Ed. Columbia’s Teachers College

Oscar Norsworthy

PRODUCT

After spending a few years teaching English, Oscar is now working hard to make solutions that scale to impact young kid’s lives across the country.

BA, The George Washington University

Our Advisors

Dave Goldberg

Dave Golden

ADVISOR

Founder and Managing Partner, Saing

Dave has built his business on the belief that focused, innovative solutions and socially conscious partnerships create lasting value. The son and grandson of teachers, he is passionate about increasing access to literacy, especially for communities in need. He is a trustee of the Ochs-Sulzberger trust, which controls the New York Times.

BA, Williams College
Fulbright Scholar, S. Korea

Teddy Rice

ADVISOR

President and Co-Founder of
Ellevation Education

Over 20 years experience in Education Technology as an operator and investor, focused primarily on how innovation can make a difference for our nation’s underserved and struggling students.

MBA Wharton, BA Dartmouth

Dr. David Share

ADVISOR

Faculty of Education
University of Haifa

World renowned researcher on the science of reading with focus on the impact of writing systems on how children learn,  the nature of reading disabilities, and and understanding the universal drivers in reading acquisition. 

B.Sc. (Hons.) in Psychology, University of N.S.W., Sydney, Australia.

Ph.D. in Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.

Our Team

Jason Singh

DEV

I’m an artist and frequently draw, turning anything into a canvas. If I’m not drawing or coding you’ll definitely see me on the courts looking like LeBron. I’ve been playing basketball for as long as I can remember and my step back is insane!

Rebecca Kate

SOCIAL

Becky drives our social media accounts, spreading the word about TinyIvy and helping bring our innovative system to thousands of parents across the world. When not on TikTok, she’s probably riding her horse Biggles.

Mary Zenorini

CONTENT

For over 20 years, Mary was CEO of a multi-million dollar management consulting company, focusing on management development and training.

MS, Farleigh Dickenson University
JD, University of Utah