Parent FAQS

Join our In-person student learning clinic in Halifax , Nova Scotia

At Halifax Learning we deliver the SpellRead™ program in  our clinic and research hub. With locations in HRM, our dedicated team works with students aged 4 to adults, ensuring everyone masters reading skills effectively. 

Did you know SpellRead™ was created by Dr. Kay MacPhee, a leader in the field of structured literacy development and advocacy and also a dedicated mom? With guidance from leading reading experts in North America, Dr. MacPhee developed SpellRead™ to help her son and strived to combat illiteracy across North America.

Like Dr. MacPhee, our team of passionate educators is committed to making a lasting impact on every child they work with. Halifax Learning makes reading and writing easy! Researcher Tested, Mother Approved.

A copy

The goal of the SpellRead™ program is to bring reading and spelling skills to a point at or above grade level within one year and produce SKILLED, CONFIDENT READERS!

Welcome to Halifax Learning, Canada's leading destination for transformative literacy education.

With a proud legacy of success spanning across Canada, we are dedicated to empowering learners of all ages to achieve their fullest potential. At Halifax Learning, we believe in the power of personalized education, innovative teaching methodologies, and unwavering support to drive remarkable results. Whether you're a parent seeking academic enrichment for your child or an educator looking to enhance your teaching skills, you've come to the right place. Join us on a journey of discovery, growth, and achievement as we pave the way for lifelong success together. 


SpellRead™ lessons teach developing readers:



Automatically recognize and manipulate the 44 sounds of the english language



Demonstrate mastery of 18 vowel sounds and their 19 secondary spellings



26 consonant sounds and their 8 secondary spellings • 37 consonant blends • 16 clusters



Verb endings



Attack multi-syllabic words easily



Bridge auditory and visual vocabularies



Read with fluency and comprehension



Creating writing portfolios that demonstrate growth

SpellRead™: reading made easy!






The goal of the program is to bring reading and spelling skills to a point at or above grade level within one year.

The Reading Practitioners at Halifax Learning have been delivering the gold-standard in reading support programs, SpellRead™, in Halifax for 20 years. We have successfully supported the learning needs of thousands of students in Halifax and throughout Nova Scotia. SpellRead, an evidence-based program, was brought to Halifax by founder, Sarah Arnold in 1999 with her passion to eradicate illiteracy in not only Halifax, but Nova Scotia, Canada and beyond!

SpellRead™ focuses on developing a student's "phonological automaticity", the ability to master sound-letter relationships and automatically process the sounds. Activities in phonemic, phonetic, and language-based reading and writing form the foundation of SpellRead™. The SpellRead™ approach ensures that students' reading and writing skills become as developed and automatic as their verbal ability.

Students and educators see progress from the first lessons. All lessons are clearly defined in the instructor manuals and taught in a carefully sequenced and explicit manner. Each skill is thoroughly practiced in a fast-paced format so that students stay engaged in learning. 

The Halifax Learning advantage

When you enroll in a program at Halifax Learning you or your child will be working with expertly trained reading practitioners, not tutors. Our clinics offer the gold-standard in SpellRead™ instruction, our reading practitioners are rigorously trained and receive on-going training and support and we are a research hub for experts in the field. In addition to instruction in evidence-driven programs such as SpellRead, Halifax Learning families receive:

  • On-going feedback. 
  • Communication with support staff (i.e. psychologists, teachers, etc.)
  • Initial, progress and exit assessment reports. 

SpellRead™ is scientifically-based and designed to meet the specific needs of struggling students to ensure effective, sustainable results

  • SpellRead™ provides a comprehensive program that maximizes student success.
  • SpellRead™ targets essential reading skills. 
  • SpellRead™ is focused on results and closes the reading gap. 
  • SpellRead™ is not tutoring, but scientifically-driven, ensuring sustainable results.

Grounded in research

Halifax Learning and our SpellRead program consistently meet – if not surpass –   expectations. Robust third-party assessments confirm that teachers trained by HLC gain valuable skills and their students achieve meaningful outcomes. Our ongoing research doesn’t just validate our efforts, it also informs our program improvements and offerings.

SpellRead™ produced statistically significant and important results for struggling readers’ word decoding skills, a foundational part of a student’s reading journey. The program also has positive impacts on word reading accuracy and reading comprehension. Receiving SpellRead™ instruction in small groups increases students’ reading skills and helps make progress in closing the reading gap.

HLC is fortunate to collaborate with Dr. Jamie Metsala, Gail and Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Learning Disabilities. These additional research studies conducted by Dr. Metsala, while smaller in scale, show strong results and merit attention. Some highlights from that work includes:

  • SpellRead's™ speeded practice of sublexical patterns (i.e. practice rounds of reading syllables quickly) made important contributions to students' increased reading fluency and comprehension skills (i.e. it helped kids both read better and understand what they read better, too). 
  • SpellRead™ improved reading skills for older, at-risk students.
  • SpellRead™ was effective for boosting reading fluency and comprehension for students who are struggling with reading fluency in particular. 

How Does SpellRead™ Align With Expert Opinion?

Experts recommend: 

  • small instructional groups. 
  • clear and concise explanations. 
  • explicit instructional sequences. 
  • more opportunities for immediate positive feedback and error correction. 
  • more skillful orchestration and integration of elements.

→ Visit our Research Library for past and active research projects. 

Phonological awareness to the point of automatcity

Struggling readers almost exclusively lack the foundational skills required to become fluent readers. Students in the SpellRead™ program develop this skill with an emphasis on phonemic and phonetic activities using a multi-sensory approach. The goal is to automatically recognize, process and manipulate any combination of the 44 sounds of the English language. 

SpellRead™ develops phonological awareness and achieves automaticity in each lesson during the "Linguistic Foundations" portion of the class. What this means is SpellRead™ students take part in105 carefully sequenced lessons, over the course of three program phases. They are explicitly and systematically taught all the sounds and spellings that form the foundation of the phonetic and alphabetic system of English.

Further, at SpellRead™ we’re continually assessing how automatic our students are becoming and how this phonological automaticity impacts reading fluency. Want to learn more? Check out this research article by Dr. Jamie Metsala and Dr. Margaret David: Improving English reading fluency and comprehension for children with reading fluency disabilities.


Not located in Halifax but still want to join our program? You're in luck, we now offer our SpellRead™ program online!