Leah Wannell, M.A. English
Licensed English Language Arts Teacher & Reading Interventionist
Orton-Gillingham Dyslexia Tutor
Forest Heights Reading Center has grown from Leah's desire to prepare students to read widely, think deeply, and embrace reading and writing as essential tools for leading lives rich in learning, discovery, and meaning.
After earning her Teaching of English degree from the University of Illinois, Leah began her teaching career as a high school English Language Arts teacher in the Chicago area. As a secondary teacher, Leah taught a variety of grades and courses, including 10th and 11th grade British Literature, American Studies, Accelerated English, and Advanced Placement Language and Composition while earning her Masters in English at Northern Illinois University. Leah served on the English Department Writing Committee to develop a comprehensive writing curriculum for the English Department of Maine South High School. Leah was honored to present her work on student writing portfolios at the Illinois Association of Teachers of English Annual Conference.
After ten years as a classroom teacher, Leah moved to Oregon with her husband and earned her Oregon teaching license with an English Language Arts (PreK-12) endorsement. She began working as a private reading and writing tutor for students ranging from PreK through 12th grade and became particularly interested in working with early readers and children who struggle with learning to read. As both a parent of a child with dyslexia and a reading teacher, Leah has spent countless hours reading with children and employing effective instructional strategies to help her students become skilled readers and effective writers.
Leah's professional drive to support striving readers and her experiences as a parent of a child with dyslexia led her to return to graduate school at Concordia University to achieve a Reading Interventionist teaching endorsement with a focus on students with dyslexia. In addition to her graduate studies, Leah has participated in over 100 hours of Orton-Gillingham and Structured Literacy professional development training through the Orton-Gillingham Online Academy, the Institute of Multi-sensory Instruction (IMSE), and the Consortium on Reading Excellence in Education (CORE). Most recently, Leah has participated in professional development workshops and webinars to extend her expertise in the areas of Phonemic Awareness with the Heggerty Curriculum, Pre-K Literacy Readiness, K-5 Handwriting & Dysgraphia with the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum, the Science of Reading through CORE and The Reading League (TRL), and Structured Word Inquiry. Leah is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, Decoding Dyslexia Oregon, the International Literacy Association, The Reading League, and the National Council of Teachers of English.
Forest Heights Reading Center is located in the NW Portland Forest Heights neighborhood, where Leah lives with her husband, three children, one dog, and lots and lots of books.