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Turning the Page: How Entrepreneur Madison Anderson Transitioned from the Classroom to Owning Read with Mrs. A

Read with Mrs. A also known as Madison Anderson is a thriving teacher that helps kids with reading and writing. This Fort Wayne entrepreneur started her business for the ground up by stepping into the private tutor world of helping kid become better eductated through her teacher program.

Transitioning to a new career can be intimidating, especially when leaving behind a secure job in education. Despite the uncertainties, Madison Anderson's dedication to assisting students with reading intervention led her to take a bold step and establish her own tutoring business. Starting as a teacher passionate about helping children learn to read, Madison's business venture has evolved into a successful tutoring career, enabling her to impact students' lives. Today, we will delve into Madison's journey from educator to entrepreneur, the obstacles she encountered, and the positive influence she continues to have in the realm of reading intervention.

Madison Anderson was born in Escondido, California, but spent the majority of her childhood in Carlsbad with her mother and brother after her parents divorced when she was five. When she was seven, her mom remarried, and Madison gained a loving stepfather whom she considers her dad. At age nine, her mother gave birth to her little sister. As Madison grew up, she discovered a passion for singing and performing in plays, dreaming of becoming an actress or an artist. However, a close call with failing a math class in high school due to poor guidance from her teacher changed her path. Determined to help herself and two friends pass the class, Madison took it upon herself to teach them the curriculum. This experience sparked a love for teaching in Madison, leading her to pursue it as a career. Despite her passion for teaching, the recession in 2007 made jobs hard to come by for those with teaching credentials. As a result, Madison decided to shift her focus and enrolled in classes to pursue a journalism and public relations degree. When asked about her decision to change career paths, she explained,

"I've always loved reading and writing. My uncle was a journalist for Transworld Snowboarding and a New York Times best-selling author, so I grew up with him as a role model. My aunt is also an editor, so when I was a kid, they always had books around. They introduced me to Stephen King when I was a kid because I loved reading horror novels. Growing up with them really influenced my love for reading and writing."

After graduating in 2011, Madison secured positions in sales, marketing, blog creation, and social media. While she enjoyed the marketing and writing aspects of her roles, she did not share the same enthusiasm for sales. Unfortunately, many of the positions she qualified for required sales responsibilities, so it was an area she couldn't avoid. After spending six years in the journalism and sales industry, Madison felt the urge for a career change and decided to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a teacher. When discussing her preferred grade level to teach, Madison said,

"I chose elementary education. I had a great third-grade teacher who I loved, so I wanted to teach third-grade. I went into the program to get my general elementary education credential, but taking a special education class was also part of our credential requirements, and I just fell in love with it. I fell in love with learning about reading disabilities and other disabilities, so I added a special education credential to my degree. Once I graduated with both credentials, my first job offer was for a special education and reading intervention teacher combined. I took that job, and that was how I got into reading. I didn't really learn about reading intervention in college; it wasn't a specialty you could pick. So when I started that job, it kind of fell into my lap, and that was when I realized reading intervention was what I was good at and wanted to do."
Private tutors/teacher offers one-on-one instryction, focusing on specific subject areas or skills that students might be struggling with. She provides guidance, encouragement, and mentorship to help students build confidence, improve their academic performance, and achieve their eductional goals in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Madison spent four years teaching in San Diego, California, before she and her husband decided to move to Fort Wayne for a better quality of life and more opportunities for their daughter. Reflecting on her teaching experience, Madison said,

"I learned how to teach reading by teaching on the job. I don't think my teaching credential program really prepared me to teach reading. Instead, I learned from the curriculum I was given. I was hired, and they said, here we have this curriculum backed by science and based on the Orton-Gillingham method. I started teaching reading this way and was like, wow, my students are actually learning. I had 5th graders reading at a kindergarten level when I started, and they were finally starting to read. So, I really learned how to teach reading on the job. I learned what worked and what didn't. I learned more about behavior management, how to work with students in the classroom and all the things they don't teach you in school, so those first couple years were a learning experience."

Upon moving to Fort Wayne in June 2022, Madison initially planned to stay home with her daughter until she could begin preschool in the fall of 2024 and work on completing her master's degree. However, a mother from the school Madison previously taught at reached out to her for reading intervention tutoring for her son via Zoom. Madison agreed, and shortly after settling into their new home, she started tutoring the child and later began working with his two siblings as well.

Read With Mrs. A was started in Fort Wayne, Indiana with a passion for teaching. This entrepreneur saw an oppurtunity here in Fort Wayne and decided to start her own business through excellent marketing and advertising she was able to grow her business with getting more students from Fort Wayne, and California that need a little extra help in the classroom or wants to get their eduction higher. Learn more about her story at the Fort Wayne Business Journal.

After realizing her enjoyment of tutoring, Madison wanted to expand her impact by helping more students struggling with reading in the Fort Wayne area. So she established her business, Read with Mrs. A, created a business Facebook account, developed a website, and began publishing blogs. Parents soon asked for her help, and she started tutoring more students. While tutoring, Madison continued working towards completing her master's degree. For her final thesis, she wanted to research the Orton-Gillingham method, renowned as the gold standard for teaching reading and found herself deeply passionate about it. This led her to enroll in a training course to further her knowledge and become an Orton-Gillingham certified instructor. Today, Madison is in the final stages of the certification process. Once she completes her program, she plans to apply for certification as a dyslexia interventionist through CERI (Center For Effective Reading Instruction) to become the first dyslexia interventionist in the Fort Wayne area. In addition to her Orton-Gillingham certification, Madison is enrolled in the Mount St Joseph University Reading Science Certificate Program to gain insights into how the brain learns to read. She aims to eventually obtain her doctorate in reading science. When asked about her motivation to continue her educational journey, Madison explained,

"I want to know everything I can about how to be the best reading teacher to teach our students effectively. It's been a lot of money, so I tutor to pay for my education right now. I'm just really investing in myself, and I think people see that when they are looking for a tutor. When searching for a tutor, you want somebody who knows what they're doing. Someone who has the education and research backed by science and can be effective. I love it, and I think it is so fascinating. It's an area a lot of people don't understand. Reading is not a natural process; there is a specific way to teach children how to read. If you don't teach them that way, they will most likely struggle, and I just want to share that knowledge with as many people as possible."
As a certified teacher in Fort Wayne, Indiana Read with Mrs. A is thriving to help students learn more about reading and writing. She is an experienced educator that offers one-on-one teachering to students who would like to better their eduction outside of a traditional classroom.

We asked Madison if she had ever thought about going back to the classroom before Read with Mrs. A took off, and she expressed that, at one point, it was something she was considering. She said,

"I thought when my daughter went to school, I would go back to teaching, but then I thought about if we had another kid. If we had to pay for childcare, that wouldn't really work, and I realized tutoring is something I can do while still having a family and being there for my kid or future children. So I've decided that I don't think I will go back to the classroom. I liked teaching in the classroom, but I didn't like being told that I needed to have twelve students in an intervention group and I needed to do this and that when I knew it wasn't research-based or effective. It's been nice not having to listen to that, and I know that sounds terrible, but I'm able to be my own boss and make my own decisions about what's most effective for my students. I'm able to make a difference and see what I'm doing is helping kids, and at a school, it's hard for that to happen."

When asked about challenges she has faced since starting Read with Mrs. A, Madison said time management is a significant personal obstacle. She described her early mornings, beginning at 5 am, are dedicated to her reading science program, certifications, and preparation before tutoring students. During the summer, her tutoring schedule on Mondays and Tuesdays spans from 9 am to 9 pm with few breaks in between. To work through her busy schedule, she has hired babysitters to help with her daughter during the day, and she tutors in the evenings when her husband returns from work. Madison acknowledged the struggle of establishing a work-life balance but plans to adjust her tutoring hours in the fall once her daughter settles into a school routine, aiming to work more during school hours to free up evenings for family time. On the business side, a key challenge has been managing late cancellations. While many tutoring companies enforce strict cancellation policies, Madison wants to start offering a make-up day instead of charging for missed sessions. She believes this approach addresses financial implications and ensures students receive the necessary academic support, emphasizing the importance of overcoming these obstacles for both her business and the student's success.

When hiring a private tutor you want to make sure your children are happy and learning a faster pace. With this outside the classroom help that Read with Mrs. A offers your children can have an experianced teacher running a one on one lesson that will  help your child read and write. Learn more about how you can get a Online tutor or a Private tutor to help your children hit the goals they are looking for ouside of the classroom.

Today, Madison has 21 students she is currently tutoring, but once her daughter starts preschool, she intends to take on five to ten more kids. She offers her services to anyone who needs help with reading, but her average student is in kindergarten through third grade. We asked what the process looks like once she starts tutoring a new student, and she said,

"I do an initial assessment, and then I look through that to see where their deficits are. My program is very phonics-based, so I look at what phonics skills they are lacking and see where I need to start in my scope and sequence. I have three levels, which are technically called kindergarten, first, and second. Kindergarten through second grade is when you learn to read, and by third grade, you are expected to read and read for comprehension, so those early grades are where you learn the skills to read. So, after the assessment, they will technically fall into kindergarten first- or second-grade concepts. It's not grade-level but concept-based, so they'll be placed in the concepts, and we will go through each concept. It takes about a week to go through each concept. There are a lot of phonics rules, and there is a lot to teach. I have 83 concepts that are typically taught between kindergarten and second grade for my Orton-Gillingham scope and sequence. For example, if a student is landing in concept 40, they will need at least a year of tutoring if they're tutoring once a week to get through everything they need to know to understand those concepts to be able to read more fluently. In one hour a week, they can get a lot done, and I send home readers, fluency pages, and high-frequency words for them to practice at home. I can definitely tell the students who practice and those who don't so that also makes it more effective if they do it at home. What I'm doing in one lesson is pretty much what students are expected to do in a week's worth of lessons at school, so it's very condensed."
Finding an affordable private teacher can be hard but Read With Mrs. A offer affordable one on one teaching lessons that will help your child hit the goals they need to. She has an amazing lession that will help educate all students with reading and writing.

While the typical rate for an Orton-Gillingham instructor's session falls between $75 and $200 per hour, Madison offers her services for $60 per hour. She believes this fee remains accessible to those in need of her assistance while also recognizing the expertise she has acquired through her education. We asked Madison if she would ever consider hiring someone to help her, and she shared that although it is something she would love to do, it would have to be a person already Orton-Gillingham certified, and there is no other person in the Fort Wayne area currently holding that certification. With that said, she hopes to one day be able to pay for someone to get their certification to join her team with a big goal of having a business location. Today, Madison teaches students out of her home or via Zoom, so the idea of having a physical location is a dream of hers. As we were discussing long-term goals, Madison shared her hopes for the future. She said,

"I want to continue expanding my business. I would love to start working more with homeschooled students, and I think it will be easier when my daughter goes to school because I will have my whole day. I have recently started offering an assessment and report where I assess the student and write up a report for the parents or school, and it goes over what they know, where the gaps are, and my recommendations for where I would start instruction. I want to do more reporting and consulting outside of my general tutoring. I really want to start doing online courses, offering paid and free courses on reading instruction for parents and people to purchase or watch to teach them what I know and how to teach their kids at home. I would also like to teach at the college level once I get my doctorate. I want to do it all while continuing to tutor my students. I have a lot of goals."
Madison Anderson is not only a teacher or experienced eductor she is also a hard working entrepreneur that has started her business from the ground up. From Online teaching/tutor to one on one she is hitting goals in the business community to help kids get more educations outside the classroom. She is a mentor to entrepreneurs and eductors help everyine become a better verison of themselves. Learn more of this small business success story that is hitting goals in the classroom and life.

Madison's transition from elementary school special education teacher to the owner of Read with Mrs. A is a testament to her unwavering passion for teaching children to read. Having discovered her love for educating children through the Orton-Gillingham method during her teaching career, Madison boldly decided to start her own tutoring business upon moving to Fort Wayne. As she nears completion of her Orton-Gillingham instructor certification, embarks on a reading science certification, and sets her sights on pursuing her doctorate, Madison's dedication to her craft and commitment to lifelong learning shines through. Her unparalleled love for teaching children underscores her business's promising future, paving the way for continued growth and success in her mission to empower young learners through literacy. With her passion and drive, the future looks exceedingly bright for both Madison Anderson and Read with Mrs. A. To finish our conversation we asked Madison what she would say to other entrepreneurs or educators hoping to leap into business ownership. She said,

"Go for it. Decide you want to do it and do it. As a teacher, looking into other opportunities for teachers, like tutoring, is a big one right now.  Many teachers are leaving the classroom, getting their Orton-Gillingham certifications, and starting their own businesses. Tutoring is a great opportunity to get out of the classroom and start your own business. I think you have to decide what you're going to do, and you have to decide how you're going to make it work financially because, in the beginning, you're going to lose that money. It was hard not having a steady paycheck, losing the benefits, and having paid summers off. I don't have that anymore, and you have to be realistic and understand that it takes time to build a business. I was fortunate that it happened to me within a year. I did not expect to be where I am now, making close to what I made as a teacher, but realistically, it takes time. You have to decide if this is possible for you and how you can make this work financially and for your family, and definitely have a plan in place for it."
Starting a business can be hard but learning more about how to get started in growing a but through the eperiences of others. When doing this entrepreneur story we have turned that hard work and determination will help your business thrive to hit new goals.

We want to thank Madison for taking the time to speak with us today and sharing her journey. Her commitment to helping people read is incredible, and we are so happy to have her as a part of our community and team. We also want to thank Nike with Creative Roots Media for capturing the pictures you see throughout the article. If you enjoy reading the stories of those helping shape Fort Wayne, one business at a time, subscribe to our free newsletter so you're always in the loop about what's happening here at the Fort Wayne Business Journal.


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