My name is Sarah Arnold and I am the proud founder of Halifax Learning, the flagship division of Canadian Learning Foundations. Thank you for visiting. You've made the right step forward to discovering the joy in learning! We take our students' needs very seriously, with great joy, and we are very proud of a long track record of proven success!
As a formerly inefficient reader, a skeptical student of a reading intervention program and today, an entrepreneur and business owner, I too had a stressful relationship with reading. That is until I enrolled as a student in the SpellRead program with its creator, Dr. Kay MacPhee. Dr. MacPhee developed the SpellRead program in my hometown, Charlottetown, PEI, as a Mom determined to meet the needs of her struggling child. This journey has led me to my true passion and life's work as the founder of Canadian Learning Foundations, formerly known as Halifax Learning Centers at the time of its inception in 1999.
As a child, my parents, with all best intentions, put me into French Immersion and I basically taught myself how to read. First in French, then in English. Developing my own strategies, I relied on memorization, context, rhyming and inference to labor through assigned readings. I did not have strong decoding skills and my learning style was not explicitly addressed in my elementary school classroom. Understanding how words worked, based on the sound code was always a mystery to me. I had excellent marks and succeeded in university, but I had to read text over and over to comprehend the information assigned. The strategies I had taught myself were inefficient and I had huge insecurities in my reading, writing and spelling skills ... especially if I was called on to read out loud.
At 22, as a university graduate, I had had enough and made the decision to enroll in the SpellRead program. Within a month I started to lose the strategies I had relied upon all my life and the new skills weren't yet secure. It was an unsettling time, but Kay reassured me that this was normal and a part of the process to becoming an efficient reader. Once the Linguistic Foundations component of SpellRead was mastered I saw a direct correlation in my reading fluency. I started to relax into trusting this new, efficient way of decoding language. That was profound and made merealize this program would change my skills, confidence and ability to learn! The further we progressed in the program, the more the old strategies fell away and my reading fluency developed. The program retrained my brain to read efficiently. It was amazing! SpellRead was fundamentally rewiring my language processing skills.
As I entered the final stages of instruction, I saw a significant development in my spelling and free writing skills. The strategies I had relied upon as a child came back and began to enhance my new, more efficient literacy skills. I began to enjoy new, challenging, high-level reading material because it was easy and I overcame my anxiety of reading out loud in a public setting. The stress was gone and I was able to focus on the content!
Today, twenty years later, having shared SpellRead with thousands of inefficient readers, I can confidently say I have the best job in the world!
Graduate of SpellRead & Founder of Halifax Learning