From Our Founder

Evelyn Reiss

Evelyn Reiss is a visionary educator whose over 30 years in teaching have been guided by compassion, curiosity and innovation. She has founded the Claremont School for students with dyslexia, invented the Great Word House™ for teachers of English, and established the Canadian Dyslexia Society for Orton-Gillingham practitioners. She is always looking for ways to support and nurture her students and teachers.

A Short Bio

Evelyn Reiss

I have always had a fascination for language: the sound, the origin of idiom, the way some words capture meaning and communicate thought more precisely than others, from the hidden patterns and rules that govern language to its usage for different purposes.

This fascination became a more rigorous exploration when I became a teacher. Superimposed on my interest in language were more specific questions about the acquisition of proficiency in language, namely, reading comprehension and written expression. Recurring questions I asked were: Why were some students failing to absorb what was so ardently taught? Where did the deficits originate? What is the best methodology to teach language? How do you turn failure into success? The more I taught, the more I learned, and the more answers I sought. The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) proved a beneficent mentor. I began to view teaching language from an entirely new viewpoint while training to be a Fellow of the Academy.

Teachers of language, need to know how language works, how the pieces fit together, and how to sequence learning so that they can answer questions and guide students to find reasonable answers. If it makes sense to us, then we have a chance of helping our students make sense of the information we want to impart. If we are curious then we can invite our students to explore with us. The Orton-Gillingham Approach (OGA) was eye-opening and offered endless possibilities in these endeavors. OG introduced me to the patterns of English and suggested a systematic sequence of instruction. Here was a pathway forged by the brilliant Dr. Orton and his colleagues, notably Anna Gillingham and Bessie Stillman, to enable students to read and spell with clarity and logic. Moreover, it was exciting to teach.

Through OG, teaching English is no longer a mysterious, fragmented process. OG offers a practical linguistic curriculum that has proven effective and life-changing for learners of English, particularly students with dyslexia.