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For 25 years, Halifax Learning Centre (HLC) has played a profound role in the rise and empowerment of Canadian reading experts who drastically improve the lives of young people. Our third-party assessed gold-star systematic and explicit evidence-based reading program and intervention solutions have been highly successful in training teachers who go on to foster capable, confident – and even eager – readers among students who were once falling behind.

HLC is accomplishing what we’re designed to do best: train and empower reading experts in schools who can forever change the trajectory of children's development and outcomes.


We provide: 

  • reading intervention and training programs anchored in research, data, and scientific discovery;
  • a malleable application of these assets that is accessible, inclusive, scalable, and effective among diverse educators and students with different and evolving needs;
  • internal mechanisms to track student progress and skills mastery, including ways to catch students to prevent them from slipping behind; 
  • comprehensive year-long (at minimum) training, support, and mentorship for educators, and; 
  • unprecedented third-party evaluations confirming that our outcomes not only meet - but surpass - expectations, including those of the leading reading scientists in North America.

By putting this unique formula into motion, HLC has achieved what few (if any) in our industry have accomplished:

  • Our approach to reading intervention has been explicitly heralded by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) in their groundbreaking 2022 inquiry report, Right to Read
  • HLC is often listed by members of the medical community as a professionally-recognized treatment option for the diagnosis of dyslexia.
  • Data indicates that just 35 hours of our programs can improve reading skills across all grades. 
  • Our assessments show that, within a year, students make enough sustainable gains that they’re closing the gap. 

What our teachers are saying...

SpellRead is not only a remedial reading program for students, but also a comprehensive training program on the science of reading that all teachers should receive training on in order to effectively teach reading.

Taking the SpellRead training has taught me a different approach to teaching reading. The hands-on and tactile methods used with students not only keep them engaged, but also help them progress through the lessons without getting bored. In the two weeks that I have started the program with my students, I have seen increased engagement and smiles on their faces. They are also enjoying the sessions, which makes my job much easier!

Halifax Learning has been very proactive in incorporating different mediums of support and feedback allowing our staff flexibility in accessing what they need for our students. As a result of their science-backed reading program, collaborative teamwork and flexibility in their support, our students have seen great success within reading, often a key driver for families when applying to our school.

There is an art to teaching reading.      Our goal is to make sure you leave our training feeling equipped to work with your students and supported by our ongoing mentoring and coaching opportunities.

Teaching teachers - read a person a book, and they’re enthralled for a moment.  Teach a person to read and they can live an enthralling life. Equitable access to efficient literacy is found in teachers’ classrooms. 


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.