This Small Business Saturday we’d like to introduce you to one of our local tutoring services, Reading is Critical. Owned and operated by local mama, Li Grace, this tutoring service’s foundation was built on the importance of reading and ensuring children believe in themselves. We had the opportunity to speak with Li and she shared all about her journey as a business owner and mom.
Li, we are so excited to learn about you and your business!
Where are you from and how long have you lived in the Houston area?
I am from Houston. I grew up in the Missouri City and Sugar Land areas. I moved to Katy, TX in 2011 and lived there for 10 years. Now I am living in South Houston.
Tell us all about your business, Reading is Critical.
Reading is Critical is a business I began a few years ago. After years of working with students of all ages to help with building and sharpening their reading skills, it became evident that their reading abilities affected their success in other subjects such as science, social studies, and math.
What inspired you to open a business?
My children were my inspiration for opening a business. I want to work and help other students, but at the same time, I want to be present in the lives of my children. Opening a business was the only way to continue teaching and parenting.
When did you realize tutoring was your passion?
I realized tutoring was my passion after my first official summer of tutoring. I had a student who was at a crossroad with his school. I was his last hope. If he didn’t achieve the growth set forth by his first grade team, he would find himself repeating the first grade. The joy did not come from his success with me but instead from seeing his confidence grow. Seeing how I can help children believe in themselves is what drives my passion.
When should a parent seek out a tutor?
The most important part of searching for a tutor is first knowing your child and your goal for having a tutor. Second, find someone who is not only qualified but whose personality and teaching style matches your child’s demeanor. Everyone is not for everyone. Every child is not the same and neither is every tutor. A child will gain more from a tutor with whom they share a connection.
How do you balance being a mom and running a business?
Calendars in all forms! I keep a wall calendar, a paper calendar, and two online calendars. It sounds terrible, but it is the only way I can ensure that I have access to the schedules regardless of my location. Additionally, I do not work when I have my children. Once they are home from school, they have me all to themselves.
What did you do before becoming a business owner?
Prior to beginning Reading is Critical, I was a teacher in the public school system. I taught Reading Intervention, English, and Dyslexia Intervention.
What are some of your future business plans?
One thing I’m working on for Summer ’22 is to offer reading and writing classes to small groups. The material will center around the students’ interests so they can feel more connected to the class.
What is your best advice to a mom who’d like to open her own business?
To any mom who would like to open her own business, believe that you can own a business. You have to first believe in yourself. Next, always write down your ideas. Sometimes your ideas manifest in your dreams. Sometimes ideas come to you as you’re interacting with your kids. Never ignore them. Knowing exactly what speaks to your heart and following that path means you’ll be happy giving your time and energy to your new business