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The journey to establish York County Reads began in 2015 when Lissa Felzer's son was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia. It was the summer between kindergarten and first grade for him and he was already so unhappy with himself because he was struggling mightily in public school. He cried frequently and literally dragged his feet to school daily. As the early days of 1st grade wore on, his self-esteem plummeted. Knowing she couldn’t leave him in public school where his needs were not being met, Lissa pulled him out to teach him at home.
Appropriate tutors for children with dyslexia are prohibitively expensive so Lissa attended training in the Orton-Gillingham approach through the Institute of Multisensory Education (IMSE). Within the first few days of teaching him to read using this approach, Lissa knew she had struck gold! In 2016, she completed the advanced training in Orton-Gillingham, and it wasn’t long before her son had caught up and surpassed his “expected” reading level. Today, he is entering high school and thriving.
Lissa has always wanted to share this superpower with other children but raising six of her own and meeting their early needs had to take priority. In January of 2021, it became clear that the timing was right. With the assistance of her friend, Melanie, Fort Mill Reads was born. Very quickly the organization grew beyond the boundaries of Fort Mill and so the name had to be changed. In November 2021, York County Reads became an official 501(c)3.
York County Reads seeks to provide literacy instruction to underserved struggling readers using a multisensory, structured, sequential, evidence-based approach like the one Lissa used to teach her own son. This teaching approach is great for any struggling reader, not just the dyslexic. York County Reads hopes to change the outlook of many residents of York County in the coming months and years. We believe that, not only the child will be blessed through this program, but the tutors as well.