Certeria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always known I was a teacher at heart. I taught my first lesson in the library of Christa McAuliffe Middle School when I taught a Bible class to the basketball team during a weekly Bible class. At the time, I was only 12 years old, but I knew I was an educator. I later graduated from Willowridge High School, went on to University of Houston-Downtown and received my Master’s in Education from THE Texas Southern University! I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. While in undergrad I worked as a paraprofessional and teetered a while in the corporate sector and ultimately returned to my first love of education finding my niche as a Reading Teacher. I am a strong believer in mastering one thing, and I’ve managed to master the ART of teaching children to READ!
My passion for literacy stems from when I was a young girl who struggled to read. I grew up in an era of education, where the teachers actually used hard copy textbooks and often made the students read aloud. As a student, I hated this task. I would often read ahead to identify the words of a text so that I sounded well when it was my turn to read. When I decided to teach, my number one goal was to learn how to teach the children who were like me., struggling to stay afloat in a traditional classroom. I will tell anyone. I taught myself how to read as a child because I refused to fail. Children’s Reading College was born in 2015 when I realized there was a need for out of school intervention in my community. Many of the students I serve are from the same community I grew up in, and without Children’s Reading College, they would not be as successful as they’ve been.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?Absolutely NOT, this has not been a smooth road!!! Let’s start with the fact that I’m a very unconventional Urban Educator. I may not always speak proper English or agree with my colleagues about the preconceived notions of the students I serve. I always remember my audience…I am a TRUE Urban Educator!!! I have a soft-spot for the underprivileged and the children others have written off.
One thing I find to be a hurdle in this business is telling people, particularly parents, the honest truth about their children’s learning habits. One thing I stress to parents is that Literacy Intervention is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and a lot of work to close academic gaps. We are living in a world of “quick fixes” and oftentimes parents have unrealistic expectations of their children when they are behind academically. I always ask parents to give their children some grace when I’m working with them and allow them to be children.
Tell us about your company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
Children’s Reading College teaches children to become lifelong READers! We are known for taking the child everyone has said cannot learn, and teaching them. Children’s Reading College has a data-driven approach to teaching all children to read. We take pride in building student relationships to reach them.
Children’s Reading College is different from traditional tutoring programs because we have a relational approach that values more than the academic side of learning. We believe in catering to the WHOLE child. The first thing we teach our students if confidence. We are true believers of hard work and perseverance. We teach all children that they must believe in themselves and trust that they can be successful.
As a company, Children’s Reading College is most proud of the number of students we have impacted who had never experienced academic success until they joined our program. The most satisfying of these are the students who have joined our program as middle schoolers, and when they joined, they had never passed a STAAR exam. However, after several months in our program, they passed this dreaded state exam. Every year we see stories like this, and this is our greatest accomplishment!
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment is seeing my students succeed; however, I recently had two great moments. In January 2019, I had a five year old Autistic student enroll in our program. At this time, he did not know his alphabet sounds, and it would take him an extended amount of time to alphabetize letters. Fast forward one year later, that same student is a fluent reader. His mother recently told me that he shocked his piano teacher when the piano instructor gave him a song to play; he was able to read it with no help.
Another proud moment was when I had a 9th grader report to me that he had been ARDed out of resource classes and put in regular reading classes because he no longer needed the extra help. I could go on and on about my proudest moments because every moment of student success is a mountaintop experience for Children’s Reading College.
- $150 per month for two classes a week
- $200 per month for 3 classes a week
- Phone: 281-780-8886
- Email: certeria.crawford@
- Facebook: Children’s Reading College
Photos taken by Kevin Arrington