Candice Williams M.Ed is an award-winning Reading Specialist and Founder of Urby Education, LLC with 11 years of experience in education. The Detroit Entrepreneur Magazine named her “The Reading Revolutionary”, due to her gift for making reading fun. She has a proven track record for increasing reading data in schools. After coaching teachers and reading interventionists, 79% of their striving readers met and exceeded their reading goals by mid-year (January 2020). While 59% of struggling readers scored 1 full grade level or higher in reading by mid-year (January 2020). She specializes in building rich parent and community relationships, for 3 years in a row she hosted and planned Family Literacy Night with the participation of over 105 families. The rising illiteracy rates in the black community inspired her to create Urby Education in 2018. It is a global online and in-person education consulting platform for both parents and teachers. Urby Education allows parents and children to have access to reading support outside of their traditional school. Urby has over 1.3k+ parents and teachers from 97 countries enrolled in their online programs, Lit Kits that make literacy accessible and hands-on. Urby Reading Academy is a subscription plan website for kids in grades K – 2 to learn early literacy skills through engaging reading videos. Lastly, Urby Reading Workshops teaches both parents and teachers ways to help kids become better readers and writers. Candice Williams is the co-host of The Teacher’s Lounge Talk Show, which is a television show that’s been on the air for 5 years. As an influencer, Candice has made reading fun on social media with her five-year-old co-teacher son Justin.
Tammy Reese: What was the last book you read? What was your take on that book?
Candice Williams: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, I read this particular book for my book club. The book was pretty interesting. I learned that we all go through phases in life, and we simply have to find ways to navigate and find a balance.
Tammy Reese: What inspired you to become a reading specialist?
Candice Williams: I always had a passion for reading and writing as a child. Ultimately, I wanted to leave the classroom to focus on one core subject. Being a Reading Specialist allows me to understand how to support children in becoming better readers.
Tammy Reese: How did Urby Education, LLC come about?
Candice Williams: Illiteracy rates in Detroit were at an all-time high, and children needed more support outside of their traditional schools. I noticed how parents were looking for programs, yet there weren’t that many to choose from.
There’s power in the name “Urby”
Urban + Butterfly= Urby, it’s a play on words.
Urban| I’m from Detroit, and our illiteracy rates are at an all-time high. We’re not alone, these high illiteracy rates can be seen in most urban communities across America.
Urby Education’s mission is to increase literacy in the urban community. I struggled with reading “big words” as a youth so my high-school friends nicknamed me “Dyslexic”. I’m not dyslexic, but those names did hurt.
My goal is to help children avoid feeling insecure about their academic abilities.
ButterflY| When kids struggle with reading it’s hard for them to overcome their insecurities. I want kids to push beyond the barriers and names that people have called them. I believe that children can gain confidence once they learn how to read.
This transformation process allows children to gain their wings and to take flight. That fuzzy caterpillar can transform into the most beautiful resilient creature on this Earth butterfly.
Tammy Reese: In what ways do you make reading fun?
Candice Williams: I use hands-on strategies to teach children how to read and write. We go beyond paper and pencil, and I find ways to bring reading to life.
Tammy Reese: Please tell us about The Teacher’s Lounge Talk Show?
Candice Williams: The Teacher’s Lounge Talk Show has been on the air for 5 years. The host and co-hosts are all educators. We discuss topics related to Education, politics, and issues that affect the urban community.
Tammy Reese: When and where can we tune in?
Candice Williams: WHPR Channel 33 Comcast Channel 90/Roku/Direct TV/ Apple TV/YouTube on Saturdays 7 am – 8 am.
Tammy Reese: What does your role entail in regards to That Girl Brand Ambassador?
Candice Williams: Being that Girl Ambassador entails being an advocate for women’s empowerment. My role is to support women by providing parent reading workshops and educational resources for their early readers.
Tammy Reese: How did you increase reading data in schools?
Candice Williams: I coached reading interventionists and teachers on how to teach high-quality reading lessons. I used various methodologies, hands-on resources, and different curriculums.
Tammy Reese: When you’re not in reading revolutionary mode what else do you enjoy doing?
Candice Williams: Listening to music, dancing, and taking naps.
Tammy Reese: What are some great Black History literature that young black students should consider reading during Black History month?
Candice Williams: The ABC’s of Black History and Bud, Not Buddy
Tammy Reese: What more would you like our readers to know about you?
Candice Williams: I’m an educator turned entrepreneur who would like to see more young black children become better readers and writers.
We’re in a pandemic, but the reading epidemic within the black community is more vicious and visible than COVID. The effects will leave our communities broken, and our youth with little hope.
The only way that we can solve this problem is through parent partnership programs like Urby Education.
We are expanding our brand and resources. We have an online reading academy for kids in grades K-2, parent reading workshops, online courses, and Lit Kits.
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Multimedia Creative and Personality Tammy Reese is an award-winning Writer and Journalist. Writing and Directing short films on social issues to spread awareness through the arts gained Tammy the Makers: Women Who Make America Award honor on International Women's Day 2019. Tammy currently serves on the Communications Committee for New York Women In Film and Television. She is also the Founder and Owner of Visionary Minds Public Relations and Media.