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Vaishnavi Srivathsan: Helping Kids Learn and Love Reading

Vaishnavi Srivathsan: Helping Kids Learn and Love Reading

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Vaishnavi Srivathsan, the founder & CEO of Vinn Labs LLC. Let’s learn what’s happening at Vinn Labs LLC and how Vaish is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Vaish! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Vinn Labs LLC?

Vaish: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Our tool, Simili, uses AI-generated reading adventures and games to help young children learn to read. Kids get to play with their favorite characters, choose what they do and where they go, and in the interim, help the characters—and themselves—pick up phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and other reading-related skills.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Vaish: I started this to help my now four year-old nephew learn to read and more importantly, build an interest in reading habits. He loves trucks, cars and spaceships, and I wanted to leverage his passions to help him get excited about stories, books and adventures. I want to see kids like him glow and love reading. I love watching kids smile as they get to see where their thoughts, ideas and creativity take them, and see their interest in reading soar. Isn't it fun to read, especially when they are your own stories and adventures?

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Vaish: Simili will help millions of kids worldwide learn to read, understand, and build words in any language—starting with English for now. We will ensure that no kid gets left behind for lack of interest, personalization, and/or access to reading materials. We already have about 80 families in the beta testing stage—if you're interested or have siblings/friends who would be interested, ask them to try Simili!

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Vaish: Simili recently won an award! Yay! We got some money to publish and talk about our games with parents and kids. This will help us tell everyone about what we are doing, provide feedback about the product, and help us take this to even schools. Wouldn't school be more fun when you learn with games? That's what we want to enable for all kids!

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Vaish: We are so excited about what we are trying to do with Simili. Since our product directly speaks to their interests, we would welcome any opportunity to show them the product and have them try it. We'll even do mini reading sessions with them, if they're interested!

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Vaish—it’s been an honor!

Vaish is a seasoned operator turned founder, who is excited about leveraging new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to enable access to opportunities for people from all walks of life. She runs Vinn Labs LLC as a set up to experiment with multiple projects, with the first flagship tool being Simili. (First published on the Ladderworks website on January 5, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Daniela Vega. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.