Founder of Education Venture Fund, D.C. New Leaders Addresses the National Literacy Crisis Using the Power of Play - Clever Noodle

Founder of Education Venture Fund, D.C. New Leaders Addresses the National Literacy Crisis Using the Power of Play

Andre Dev

Jacquelyn Davis, former Washingtonian of the Year, honored for her pioneering work establishing the Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School and founding D.C. New Leaders, has announced the launch of Clever Noodle, an educational tabletop “learn-to-read” game company. Davis has set her sights on the national literacy crisis with a focus on the power of games as an essential tool to contribute to reading success. Davis is a Fellow and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the national education nonprofit, Bellwether where the new venture is being incubated. The first product, Kangaroo Cravings, will be introduced on the popular crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter on October 25, 2022.

“We chose Kickstarter because it is the leading platform for creators to bring new ideas to life,” said Jacquelyn Davis, founder, CEO and Mom-In-Chief of Clever Noodle. “The market for educational toys for kids lacks innovation in many ways. We saw a huge gap in the market of games that help children learn to read. With a crowdfunding campaign, we want to prove that the demand is there for evidenced-based educational games that provide interactive, multi-sensory learning experiences focused on how kids actually learn and retain reading skills.”

While Davis has been a leader in the education space, the pressing need to address the literacy crisis hits close to home. She is the mother of a young son whose struggle with reading was compounded by a recent dyslexia diagnosis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, her son was having a tough time hitting his reading goals, and traditional flash cards did not work nor did they keep his attention. So Davis got out the markers and glue, using the backside of a delivery box, she came up with fun ways to engage her son's imagination while helping him learn his high-frequency, sight words.

Her son loved the game, and more importantly his reading fluency improved dramatically! Word quickly spread among his classmates, teachers, and school leaders in Washington, DC. Over the next two years, Davis refined and tested the game with hundreds of kids, teachers, and education leaders. Initial responses exceeded Davis’ expectations. “Our literacy experts reviewed Kangaroo Cravings and we are all excited to use it in our classrooms,” stated Dr. Melissa Kim, Deputy Chancellor, DC Public Schools.

The need for kid focused, evidence-based literacy solutions pressed on Davis to take her innovation public as mounting reports declared that the pandemic led to the greatest drop in reading scores since 1990. The data is worse for low-income children of color. As part of Davis’ deep commitment to improving equity in literacy education, she’s partnering with two nonprofits, New Leaders and Dyslexia Alliance for Black Children, to get Kangaroo Cravings into low-income and underserved communities through classrooms and homes across 15 cities. As part of the Kickstarter launch, supporters can choose to have Kangaroo Cravings donated directly to those most in need.

The Kangaroo Cravings Kickstarter campaign will launch on Tuesday, Oct 25, 2022 and will remain live through the Thanksgiving holiday season, ending on Giving Tuesday, November, 29, 2022.