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Curriculum Associates Acquires Soapbox Labs

With the addition of Soapbox Labs’ voice engine, Curriculum Associates has new language and literacy-focused tools in its portfolio that can recognize age-specific regional and cultural dialects.

Closeup of yellow and orange sound waves coming out of a person's mouth as they are speaking. Black background.
Shutterstock/ESB Professional
A U.S. education software company dating back more than half a century has acquired an artificial intelligence-powered language recognition tool for developing early literacy and math skills.

According to a news release last week, the Massachusetts-based Curriculum Associates purchased Soapbox Labs, an Irish ed-tech company that makes a voice engine capable of recognizing age-specific regional and cultural dialects in 193 countries where English is spoken. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Curriculum Associates, a company that has made both print and digital instructional materials for K-12 since 1969, is known for its i-Ready tools that assist teachers with instruction planning, student assessment and classroom management tasks, according to the company’s website. Company officials said the addition of Soapbox Labs will bring new tools for literacy, vocabulary building, student monitoring and feedback into the Curriculum Associates portfolio.

“This groundbreaking partnership will bring state-of-the-art voice technology to more classrooms, helping to ensure every learner is set up for success,” Curriculum Associates CEO Rob Waldron said in a public statement.

Soapbox Labs officials said the partnership would help the company expand its footprint in the digital learning market.

“We are excited about this partnership with Curriculum Associates which will solidify Ireland’s reputation as a hub for AI innovation and give our team the opportunity to power better, more equitable outcomes for all students as they progress through their K-12 reading, language, and math journeys,” Soapbox CEO Martyn Farrows said in a public statement.

According to Crunchbase, this is Curriculum Associates’ third acquisition in about six years, most recently including the English language learning platform Ellevation in 2021, and before that the educational game company Motion Math in 2017.

The acquisition also follows a series of initiatives in the literacy space by Curriculum Associates this year. From September through November, the company hosted free “Science of Reading” professional development webinars for K-8 reading teachers across the country. In April, the Texas Education Agency selected i-Ready to support statewide reading success in grades K-5.