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Our History

sylvia headshotThe Founder: Sylvia Hannah

The Centre for Literacy was founded in 1990 by Reading Specialist, Sylvia Hannah. Sylvia Hannah believed strongly that all students were capable of learning and thriving. Her career path has demonstrated a continuing commitment to supporting students who struggle in a variety of different ways. She began the Centre as a small reading clinic located in Edmonton’s Pleasantview area. Sylvia is trained in the Lindamood-Bell reading intervention. She drew upon this expertise along with a vast experience as a reading specialist, to create programs to support struggling readers. She continues to maintain an active interest in the Centre, and returns from retirement each summer to teach an intense workshop on reading interventions. Sylvia is the author of Why Your Child Can’t Read and  Spell and What YOU Can  Do About It.


Yvonne SternThe Builder: Yvonne Stern

In 1998, Sylvia passed ownership of the Centre to Reading Specialist Yvonne Stern. Under her capable leadership, the Centre has grown to be regarded as a vital service within Edmonton and area. She has been instrumental in mentoring many Centre teachers and has a particular interest in designing the most appropriate intervention for struggling students based on their unique needs. Yvonne has worked with students with learning disabilities since 1976 in a number of different environments. She has significant international experience in Zimbabwe, England and South Africa in addition to Canada. Yvonne continues to be involved with the Centre, with a particular focus on designing the appropriate intervention for struggling readers, writers and spellers.


Portrait Serious Colour CropedThe Advocate: Kathryn Burke

In May 2013, ownership of the Centre will change hands from Yvonne to Kathryn Burke. A health care administrator turned education advocate, Kathryn has extensive experience as a consultant in health and human services. She has been the part time Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta since 2009, and has frequently appeared on radio and television to speak about learning disabilities. She is the author of the best selling non-fiction book, An Accidental Advocate, and founder/editor of Kathryn’s gifted son lives with learning disabilities, ADHD and other health issues, and learned how to read at the Centre for Literacy.