Photo of founder Ethan Pierce holding up a copy of Adaptive Reader's first novel, Frankenstein.

Adaptive Reader Founder Ethan Pierce holding up a copy of Frankenstein.

The Genesis of Adaptive Reader

Adaptive Reader began with a deeply personal journey of struggle. Our founder, Ethan Pierce, experienced significant challenges with reading and writing throughout his early education. Struggling for years with undiagnosed dyslexia, Ethan was one of those students who didn't learn to read by the end of third grade, failed spelling tests, and felt the weight of academic struggles. It wasn't until middle school and high school that dedicated teachers helped him transform from a struggling student into a successful scholar, ultimately earning a full scholarship to Harvard College.

These formative experiences instilled in Ethan a profound understanding of the barriers many students face. He recognized that many students get to middle school or high school and are expected to transition from learning to read to reading to learn. For those who haven't reached grade-level reading expectations, this shift can make the curriculum seem insurmountable. This realization became the seed for Adaptive Reader.

Our Mission

Adaptive Reader's mission is rooted in ensuring every student can succeed, regardless of linguistic or neurological differences. We believe that the reading level a student is at does not reflect their intelligence or potential. Our goal is to make classic literature accessible to all students, allowing them to engage in critical thinking discussions, develop core skills, and build confidence while improving their literacy.

The Adaptive Reader Approach

Adaptive Reader amplifies rather than simplifies texts. Our digital reading application breaks down classic literature into short, manageable passages. Students can see the original text side-by-side with our adapted versions, which are available at different reading levels and multiple languages. This approach helps students gradually build the skills needed to tackle the original text.

Our process involves a blend of technology and human expertise. We use AI to assess the difficulty of texts and create initial adaptations, but our human-in-the-loop model ensures quality. Each of our leveled texts is carefully reviewed and refined by human editors to ensure that the adaptations to maintain the integrity of the original themes and complexities.

Dignified Differentiation 

At Adaptive Reader, student agency and dignity are paramount. Our platform allows students to toggle between different levels of text independently, giving them control over their learning journey. Whether in our digital application or our print-on-demand paperbacks, which look identical on the outside to avoid singling out students, we strive to create an inclusive environment. This design consideration extends to features like the passage numbers in the margins in our paperbacks, which mark the same point in the story across different levels and languages, fostering a seamless and respectful learning experience.

Looking Ahead

We started Adaptive Reader with a focus on public domain classics widely taught in U.S. high schools, but we are expanding to include more diverse voices and world literature. Our future plans include leveraging AI to support even more languages and dialects, helping to preserve home languages and offering personalized learning experiences.

Join Us

We are a mission-oriented company, deeply committed to improving literacy and education for all students. We invite educators, parents, and students to join us in this journey. Your feedback, stories, and support are invaluable as we continue to grow and improve our offerings. Visit our website, reach out, and help us shape the future of accessible education.

Together, we can ensure that every student has the opportunity to succeed.