'Time for family-centred approach to literacy' (WFP. Jan. 6). By Dr. Cathy Moser

March 24, 2020

Dr. Cathy Moser, Clinical Psychologist, Winnipeg

In an article written by two learned individuals, it was noted that "two out of five Canadian adults can’t read well enough to perform everyday tasks." The article goes on to say that reading difficulties start early and that "we need a cultural shift among educators and schools that recognizes a family-centred approach is key to literacy."

The problem with that approach is that illiterate parents who have not properly learned to read cannot teach their children to read properly. Learning to read is a complex process. The real problem is that the education system has failed us by adopting an approach to reading that is ineffective for at least two out of every five children and was ineffective for two out of five of their parents back in the day.

I have been a clinical psychologist for more than 30 years — the first 10 of which were spent in schools. I mourned the passing of an adequate reading model the first year I started, when I was treating a Grade 5 student with extreme behavioural problems. It turned out he was reading at a Grade 1 level and spent his time avoiding having to face his inadequacies by finding more interesting activities to engage in.

When I asked if the resource teacher had tried an Orton-Gillingham (phonics-based) approach to teaching him to read, she looked at me like a deer staring in headlights. This was the gold standard for effectively teaching any child how to read prior to the 1980s.

Unfortunately, our education system had thrown out the phonics-based reading system in favour of the whole-word approach. The reasoning was that the phonics-based approach was repetitive and boring, while if students learned a few words by sight and guessed at others through context, they could read interesting material.

That was the beginning of the end of literacy for generations to come. And the start of the rise in behavioural problems — children who stare at words they cannot read all day will eventually resort to mischief. Some of those who fear having to read out loud when they cannot read would rather throw a chair than face their fear.

Although many special education departments in the U.S. recognized the error and brought back phonics-based reading programs, Manitoba continues down a dead-end path. Like other systems that have developed "cop-out" strategies for ineffective programming, the suggested approach is to put the onus on parents to teach what teachers cannot.

No wonder Manitoba students score the lowest on standardized tests (and, by the way, having teachers spend two months testing students at the beginning of every year instead of teaching them will not cure this systemic problem; nor will "teaching to raise test scores").

If anyone would like to know why Manitoba children are failing in math — enrol in a Grade 5 class and try to learn how to divide in the manner that it is taught. The answer will be clear, because the methods of teaching math are definitely not!

Dr. Cathy Moser

Clinical Psychologist



Manitoba Education and Training Proclaims Dyslexia Awareness Month

October 17, 2019

Fantastic News!! Manitoba Education and Training has proclaimed Dyslexia Awareness Month and the Department "is committed to building the awareness and skills of educators in meeting the needs of students who struggle, including those with dyslexia." The Manitoba Government, through the Department of Education and Training is recognizing Dyslexia, and the need to train and support educators so that they, in turn, can better support our dyslexic kids. 

Dyslexia has not been recognized by many educators, clinicians and administrators within the Manitoba school system. Here is the evidence they need that the Province of Manitoba /  Brian Pallister recognizes the need and importance of giving these students and educators the appropriate learning tools they need to be successful. Congratulations to the Province!

Please share with educators and parents. 

Join the #MarkItRead celebration on Sat. Oct 26 , 7 PM at the ‘Winnipeg Sign’ at the Fork (which will be illuminated in RED)  by the City/ Mayor Brian Bowman to acknowledge Dyslexia awareness. #SayDyslexia…

#MarkItRead #friendsofdyslexia #ManitobaTeachers #Dyslexia #DyslexiaAwareness #DyslexiaCanada

Download Proclamation - English version of Letter and Proclamation Certificate 

Download Proclamation - French version of Letter and Proclamation Certificate

Province of Manitoba Proclamation Oct 2019 

Province of Manitoba Letter Oct 2019

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month - 'Mark it Red / Read For Dyslexia' Campaign

October 10, 2019

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month - Mark it Red / Read Campaign

The Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba are partnering with Dyslexia Canada in the 'Mark it Red for Dyslexia' Campaign  (October 2019) to Mark it Read and City of Wpg Signraise awareness about Dyslexia. 

A big thank you to the City of Winnipeg who will be lighting up the Winnipeg sign at the Forks at 7 pm on October 26 in support of this awareness campaign. Join the Friends of Dyslexia and the Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba in the celebration! Mark it Read - EventBrite:

Thanks to the City of Winnipeg/Mayor Brian Bowman for your support!

Stay tuned for details of other events scheduled for Manitoba, but in the meantime - why not plan your own campaign in your school, neighbourhood or workplace. Check out all the great ideas Dyslexia Canada has posted on their website!

Let us know what you have planned so we can help celebrate and support your efforts!

Email us at 



“Parent Toolkit Workshop”. Fall 2020

October 10, 2019

 “Parent Toolkit Workshop” Sponsored by the Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba 
Fall 2020
University of Manitoba

Do you have a child with Dyslexia or other related learning differences? Are you frustrated or feeling lost on how to support and advocate for your child? The event will feature an interactive workshop for parents that you won’t want to miss! This one-day workshop will highlight expert advice, guidance, and resources to support parents. Participants will go home with a ready-to-use toolkit that will be their ‘road map’ to advocacy including guidance on early identification, remediation, and accommodations at school.

Space is limited for this event. Stay tuned for more information and registration details.


Ontario Human Rights Commission launch ‘Right to Read’ public inquiry.

October 4, 2019

OHRC launches Right to Read public inquiry

TORONTO – Today (Oct 3), the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) launched Right to Read, a public inquiry into human rights issues that affect students with reading disabilities in Ontario’s public education system.

There are children in classrooms across Ontario who fail to learn to read. According to recent Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) results, more than one-quarter of Grade 3 students, and 53% of Grade 3 students with special education needs, did not meet the provincial standard for reading.

Students who can’t read will struggle in all aspects of school, and are more vulnerable to mental health disabilities, behavioural issues, bullying and dropping out. Life-long consequences can include under-employment, homelessness, involvement with the criminal justice system, and even suicide.

Students with reading disabilities have the right to learn to read. Yet, the OHRC is concerned that students with reading disabilities are not getting the supports they need. This is all the more troubling because reading disabilities can be remediated with early intervention and support.

As part of its inquiry, the OHRC will hear from parents, students and educators across the province. It will also assess whether school boards use scientific evidence-based approaches to meet students’ right to read. The OHRC will assess school boards against five benchmarks that are part of an effective systematic approach to teaching all students to read:

  • Universal design for learning (UDL)
  • Mandatory early screening
  • Reading intervention programs
  • Effective accommodation
  • Psycho-educational assessments (if required).

 More details can be found at



Dyslexia Parent Support Group Meeting - May 26. Assiniboine Park Duck Pond

May 14, 2019

Dyslexia Parent Support Group – May 26                

First gathering to be held: Sunday, May 26th at 1:30 to 2:30, (Meet just outside the shelter at the Duck Pond in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg).

The intent is to host a series of parent support gatherings for families that have children with dyslexia, to meet, share experiences, learn from one another, and acquire resources to help support and advocate for our children. This is an informal opportunity for parents to also connect with members of the Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba, and other resource professionals.

These events will be moderated by members and associates of the Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba. These members have experience as parents, teachers, Orton-Gillingham / structured literacy tutors, and reading clinicians. Their experiences and knowledge will help guide group discussions to inform, and to answer questions.

The format of this first meeting will be to meet, introduce ourselves, hear the topic question, and go for a walk whilst discussing the topic. Stops will be made during the walk to discuss the topic as a group. Our walk will end at 2:20 to allow time to share information and/or answer questions. The theme for this first meeting will be “Sharing Successes and Struggles”. Participants will have an opportunity to share an issue you currently struggle with in terms of supporting your child with dyslexia, and also share a strategy you have found helpful in supporting/advocating for your child.

Topic questions will be welcome for future gatherings.

The events at Assiniboine Park will be held outside, rain or shine, so please dress accordingly. Feel free to bring water or a hot beverage.

The event is free to attend, but please RSVP to by May 24, 2019. 

Share your views now! Manitoba Commission on Education Public Workshops

April 25, 2019

Manitoba Commission on Education Public Workshops Happing Now.

Here is your opportunity to share your views with the Manitoba Commission on Education on how to better support kids with dyslexia in our school system. Ten workshops are planned between April 24-May 15 around Manitoba. Register today

Education Commission workshops

Scholarships for Teachers and Students

January 27, 2019

The Reading and Learning Clinic of Manitoba is offering two scholarships for teachers and students. See out the details here: 

Invitation for Adults with Dyslexia to Participate in Research Study

November 5, 2018

Invitation for Adults with Dyslexia to Participate in a Graduate Research Study at the University of Manitoba.

We are looking for adults with dyslexia, ages 21 and above, who will be willing to be interviewed & video recorded for a graduate research project.


The purpose of this research is to find out the past and present experiences of adults with dyslexia, and present the information in a manner that adults with dyslexia can access and consume. Participants will be asked to answer questions about their current experience as an adult living with dyslexia, as well as their experiences growing up with dyslexia; which will include emotional, social, work, and educational experiences. The time commitment is expected to be about 1 hour.

This study will explore the personal experiences of adults with dyslexia and how they cope emotionally, at work and with higher education; and present findings in a video format which adults with dyslexia can access and engage with. This study will therefore provide answers to the following questions: 

  1. What are the emotional & social experiences of adults living with dyslexia in Winnipeg, Manitoba?
  2. What are the strategies adults with dyslexia utilize to navigate daily living in Manitoba, Canada?
  3. What resources are currently available for adults living with dyslexia in Manitoba, Canada past and/or present? 

If you are interested in participating in the study or have questions about the study, please contact:
Natalia Jackson at 204-688-5817 or email:

 This study has been through a rigorous ethics approval process through the Ethics Review Board at the University of Manitoba.

Research Study Poster Nov. 2018

Advocacy for Children with Dyslexia: A Symposium for Families

September 21, 2017

The Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba are hosting the symposium on October 21 in recognition of Dyslexia Awareness Month. The symposium is designed to provide families with advice and guidance on how to best support children with dyslexia. Hear from parents, teachers, reading clinicians, psychologists, successful entrepreneurs, disability advocates, Orton-Gillingham tutors, and most importantly - a panel of students living with Dyslexia. 

 The event is FREE.  However, we ask that you pre-register. Space is limited. Refreshments will be served.

Download the Promotional Poster here: Oct 21, 2017 Advocacy Symposium Poster

Professional Development Opportunity for Manitoba Teachers -October 20, 2017:

September 16, 2017

SOLD OUT.  Thanks to all who registered!
Please attend our two upcoming professional development sessions on October 20 at Victor H. L. Wyatt School in Winnipeg offered through Manitoba Multi-Age Educators (MAME).

485 Meadowood Drive
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2M 5C1

Please see link for details and registration.

Morning session:

MA- 111

Using Assessment to Target Effective Reading and Writing Instruction

As an advocacy group for parents and professionals, The Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba Inc. has as its goals:
• to raise awareness of dyslexia
• to promote and provide teacher training.

Using the response to intervention (RTI) model, presenters will outline an assessment approach to target instruction. Our goal is to help educators in all capacities - classroom teachers and specialists, to identify students who require specific Tier 2 or 3 intervention. A model for screening and progress monitoring for those who struggle with reading and writing will be provided. The presentation is based upon current practice in a Manitoba public school division.

Valdine Bjornson, Jeanne Remillard, Christine van de Vijsel

Afternoon session:

MA- 211

Appropriate Intervention Approaches for Developing and Poor Readers/Writers

As an advocacy group for parents and professionals, The Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba Inc. has as its goals:
• to raise awareness of dyslexia
• to promote and provide teacher training.

Each presenter has had Orton-Gillingham accredited training and intense, supervised practice. As such, we are advocates for Orton-Gillingham as it is based upon a multisensory, direct and diagnostic instructional approach. Orton Gillingham utilizes applied linguistics and systematic phonics which is diagnostic, sequential, incremental and cumulative. The instructional approach is intended to facilitate learning with persons who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing of the sort associated with dyslexia. The Orton-Gillingham Approach can be used effectively with the whole class, small group and/or as 1:1 intervention. It is properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, system or technique. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility. Presenters will include information about practical resources and activities for classroom and special education teachers as well as literacy specialists.

Valdine Bjornson, Jeanne Remillard, Christine van de Vijsel

Globe and Mail Article - "Dyslexic Kids in Canada Deserve Better"

August 27, 2017


Keith Gray is the founder and director of Dyslexia Canada

Dyslexia Canada Petition to legislate compulsory student early-assessment testing for dyslexia

March 9, 2017

Consider signing the Dyslexia Canada Petition to legislate compulsory student early-assessment testing for dyslexia in Canada.
islate-compulsory-student-early-assessment-testing-for-dyslexia-in-canada?recruiter=609667235&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink …


Letters to Manitoba's Premier

May 4, 2016

Read letters from Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba to Manitoba’s Premier, Honourable Brian Pallister and Manitoba’s Education Minister the Honourable Ian Wishart. DCM has requested a meeting to discuss how we can work together with the new Provincial government to support children with dyslexia in Manitoba schools.