Sisters Nancy Alemian Telian and Penny Alemian Castagnozzi run the Weymouth-based Reading With TLC, a remedial reading company with programs used in every US state and 12 countries. The company is in its 26th year of operation; Telian is a speech language pathologist, and Castagnozzi has a background in elementary education. We spoke to Telian for this story.
Q. What's the gist of what Reading With TLC does?
A. We publish material that helps students of all ages learn to read and provide development to teachers and parents on how to use it. It's for general-education students from prekindergarten to grade two, but also for all ages, including middle school and high school, and adults who are struggling with dyslexia or any reading disability.
Q. How did the company start?
A. I was working as a speech pathologist in Boston public schools and saw a lot of people struggling with the processing of sound, and having difficulty reading. I started developing techniques and found if I taught letter sounds and drew pictures into letters, they'd feel the sounds, play with them and learn quickly, and make incredible progress. We started out in Stoughton; that was the first school system that bought our products, and we moved to Weymouth eight years ago. Penny and I had to stop driving because we both have retinitis pigmentosa, and we live about 10 minutes from each other.
Q. What are the materials you developed?
A. We have two: "Lively Letters," which I developed and which improves phonemic awareness, speech production, and phonics, and "Sight Words You Can See," which Penny developed, and facilitates the training of abstract sight words that don't follow the rules of phonics, such as "come" and "want."
Q. How has the business grown?
A. It's been good; we started out small, but in recent years it's really taken off; we're now 85 percent over sales from last year. And we have an app coming out for our programs, which should be available by October, and we're also finalizing a Spanish version for Spanish students learning English.
Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.