Parents’ Testimonials 



I wanted to write to you to say how pleased our family was with The Reading School approach for our son, Evan. When we came to you, Evan was struggling with reading and deciphering words. He was in Grade 6 and at a reading level in school that was far below what he should have been. We had felt that he must have missed something in the basic learning earlier on and that was something that haunted him throughout his elementary years until we started with you.  I like how you took him back to the basics and started from a level he felt comfortable with and only moving on to a new lesson when he was comfortable with the previous one. The Reading School really takes the time to make sure nothing is lost along the way. It wasn’t long before I started to notice how he was asking me to spell words for him and read things for him less and less. I also liked how you found teachers who were such a good fit for our family dynamic. We feared that the lessons wouldn’t be able to be done in our home because of our three large barking dogs, but you found the right match for our home! Evan has now started his high school years with a confidence in his reading that I am so happy to see. The Reading School was definitely one of the best choices we made for Evan.

Loni and Rob McCarthy
Uxbridge, ON

I just want to thank you for all the support with Xavier’s reading/writing struggles.  He has come such a long way and has improved both his reading, writing & comprehension immensely. Xavier received a wonderful report card. Speaking to his teacher, she stated that his word recognition is at the end of a grade 3 level and he is reading & comprehension is at where he should be by the end of grade 2.  Therefore, I would like to thank you for your services and withdraw from your reading program at this time.  A huge thank you to Olga.  She is a wonderful, nurturing, patient and insightful teacher.  Xavier has grown very fond of her and loved working with her. Thanks again.

Rosanna Manzerra

Since my son was in kindergarten, I knew something was not quite right about the way he learned letters and numbers. He was curious and interested in books and learning about the world around him. He could help me figure out how to put any piece of IKEA furniture together or give expert directions to a place he had only been once before, but he could not remember even the letters in his name. His teachers told me it would come with time. And it never did. I read to him all the time, we practiced our letters and nothing stuck. By grade 1, he didn’t know the alphabet and his teachers told me the issue was I  wasn’t reading to him at home and he was maybe a bit lazy and needed to work harder. This did not fit with the tears and frustration and work we were doing. I called Diane at the end of his grade one year and she was the first person to tell me that it was not his fault that he couldn’t read and it was not my job to teach him. Diane’s program is wonderfully intuitive and flexible. My son has been taking lessons with Liz, and she is incredible: patient, funny and thoughtful. My son really loves her. She likes to say that she is working herself out of a job, and it is true. Since studying with her, my son has learned how to read. He really loves reading and reads to himself every night. I am so grateful for the reading school and all the hard work and dedication they have put into my son’s success. I firmly believe the other tutoring services I looked into would not have provided the programming that The Reading School does. I would strongly encourage any parent who is struggling with the same issues to contact Diane.

Stan Byrne

I just want to thank you for all the support with Xavier’s reading/writing struggles. He has come such a long way and has improved both his reading, writing & comprehension immensely. Xavier received a wonderful report card. Speaking to his teacher, she stated that his word recognition is at the end of a grade 3 level and he is reading & comprehension is at where he should be by the end of grade 2. Therefore, I would like to thank you for your services and withdraw from The Reading School program at this time. I will let Olga know that tomorrow will be his last class. A huge thank you to Olga. She is a wonderful, nurturing, patient and insightful teacher. Xavier has grown very fond of her and loved working with her.  Thanks again,


Rosanna Manzerra

Our son continued to struggle with reading in his Grade 3 after switching to the English stream following 2 years in French immersion. We realized that it was not simply a matter of needing more time to adjust to the switch. In fact, after Diane’s assessment our instinct that something more was at play was confirmed. He had very poor phonics decoding skills and needed remediation. Diane’s method implemented through the teachers at The Reading School brought amazing results. After 1 year of tutoring, our son went from low Grade 2 assessed levels to reading well beyond his current grade. He is now a confident reader and has discovered the joy of reading. Now we find him reading all the time – never thought we would see this day.

Rhonda McEwen
Toronto, ON

At the beginning of grade two, it became very apparent that our 7.5 year old daughter was unable to grasp many very basic reading concepts, and was not sounding out words. Let alone making sense of the few words she could recognize. She was struggling, and starting to think she was “dumb” because she was struggling to read Level 1 books while some of her friends were reading chapter books.

I found Diane and The Reading School online, and after an assessment that confirmed what we were seeing, we started twice weekly reading tutorials. My daughter is now 9 and halfway through grade 3, and she is reading and writing at grade 3 level! She is happy to pick up a book (loves comics) and is writing her paragraphs for school with little help needed. She can sounds out long words, her writing is neat and tidy, and she understands written questions with only occasional assistance.

My daughter went from pre-kindergarden level to average grade 3 level in just over a year (14 months). I give all the credit to Diane and the teachers we worked with, who were always lovely and kind to my little girl. She now feels like she is capable of doing what’s expected of her in school, and reads out loud with the most lovely expressive voice…. just like her teacher would read to her at the end of each session.

In this case, our child did not have a learning disability. She needed extra support and attention that the school was not able to provide, and I’m so happy that we were able to find that help at The Reading School. I encourage everyone who is going through similar experiences to take this step.

J Francis
Toronto, ON

I am so pleased with Zoë’s literacy development. She is reading and writing with such confidence. When I asked her if she thought the tutoring was helping and how she knew, she said, “Reading is just easier!” We read together at night and Zoë suggested she and I have a novel study group…just she and I. Upon her teacher’s request, I asked Zoë to read her most recent writing piece at school. It was amazing. It was sophisticated. She can now focus on her ideas instead of struggling with spelling. So thank you!

Kathleen Kraft
Toronto, ON

The Reading School saved my son. He went into French Immersion in Senior Kindergarten and was utterly lost. Throughout Grade 1, as we raised concerns, his teacher told us there was nothing to worry about. At the end of the year, he still could not identify the letters reliably and could not read even the simplest three letter words. He had been completely left behind. Diane Duff of The Reading School assessed him and gave us the first honest and useful advice we had received. She laid out all our options. We decided to move him to the English program at his school and engaged Diane to work with him one-on-one. She is nothing short of spectacular. She is kind and supportive but also firm and demands that her students try their best. My son was terribly angry at his circumstances at the beginning, but she coaxed him through it and helped him build up his self esteem. He made dramatic progress. His math skills were also impacted. While it is not the focus of The Reading School, Diane was able to include a significant math element in his second year working with her. At the end of grade 3, he had caught up the two years he had lost and his reading was in the 86% percentile. He loves to read now and it makes him so happy.  Now at the beginning of grade 4, math and spelling are still an issue and Diane suspected a learning disability related to numeracy and referred us to a psychologist for assessment. We are pursuing that and continuing the tutoring with The Reading School. We are now working with one of Diane’s roster of teachers, Irina, who is able to do both math and phonological awareness. I been equally impressed by her experience and ability. I have referred many other parents to The Reading School and I would be happy to talk to anyone about our experience if they have a child who is having trouble with reading. As I said, The Reading School saved my son.


Elisabeth Brückmann
Toronto, ON

We received Ruby’s report card today and it was so fantastic to read the comments about the changes the teacher has seen in her this year. Her grade in English also reflected the huge effort she’s put in and we can’t thank you enough for your support. We feel very fortunate to have had you working with Ruby this year, it has had a huge impact on her confidence and of course her reading abilities. The most important thing to us is just seeing her enjoy reading so much.  🙂

Jessie Wilkin
Toronto, ON

We engaged the services of Diane’s organization to remediate significant below grade reading issues of my seven year old  grade 1 son. We held four times a week one-hour long sessions with one of the very competent tutors from the Reading school at our home. Over the course of three months, we are very happy to observe huge improvements in the reading/writing ability, to the point we decided to stop sessions and see how we will do in school when grade 2 starts in September. When nothing else helps, investment into lessons with the Reading school is worth every penny, because you get results (fast), qualified services of trained in-the-field tutors, convenience of choosing times and frequencies of lessons at your own home. 100 % satisfaction!

Olga Yakutovich
Toronto, ON

We have had a very positive experience with Patricia, Diane, and the Reading School overall. Patricia is an excellent educator and we will miss seeing her every week. You have our sincere thanks for everything you have done to help Kathleen. There is no question she has benefited from your program.

Joe Bonner
Ottawa, ON

Diane has been a tremendous help to me and my son over the last year.  Diane’s approach is professional and courteous and she successfully guided my son onto his reading  journey.   Diane teaches with a wonderful balance that is firm, but supportive and caring, adapting her style to reach and meet my son’s individual needs.  When we started working with Diane, my son did not have stable recognition of his letters or their sounds.  With her dedicated efforts we have made significant strides and are now reading with a foundation we would not have been able to build without her expertise and support.

Adrianne O’Halloran
Toronto, ON

In grade 1 my son was identified by the teacher as being behind in reading and writing.  I connected with The Reading School, and spoke to Diane, who assessed my son and created a learning program for him.  We were then connected with an amazing tutor named Jane, who met with our son twice weekly.  Our son not only had difficulty academically, but also behaviourally.  There were several weeks where our son did not want to participate in tutoring because, naturally, he disliked working on what was difficult and uninteresting for him.  My son avoided the tutor in several creative ways, such as hiding in the house, having temper tantrums, and even running away.  Our tutor was not only skilled in teaching, she was also skilled in child management.  She quickly understood what interested our son, and how she could engage with him.  Despite our son’s persistent avoidance of tutoring, he NEVER missed a class, and ALWAYS learned something valuable.  Fast forward a year and a half later, and our son is now reading and writing “at grade level.”  I am so thankful that I chose The Reading School from the list of suggestions I was provided by our son’s teacher.  Thank you Diane and Jane!

Toronto, ON

I had a fantastic parent/teacher interview with Lola’s 3rd grade teacher and just wanted to pass the reading portion of the praise on to the both of you. Her teacher says she is reading perfectly at grade level now!!!!! And she never would have made it to this point so quickly without your wonderful program, Diane, and your amazing teaching, Scott. So thank you thank you to both of you; you’ve really made a wonderful difference in our lives :)!  Lola actually reads for pleasure now. We are just over the moon with her progress and don’t know how to thank you enough! I know with more hard work from Scott and Lola she will be reading above her grade level in no time.  All the best!

Lily Sadri
Toronto, ON

The Reading School and Diane helped Bonnie tremendously. She gained confidence and a love of reading and learning we had not seen before. After every session with Diane – where Bonnie worked very hard – she left happy, excited and proud. Diane also provided support to my husband and me as we navigated Bonnie’s learning challenges and the school system. Diane always took the time to check-in with us, and to offer her observations and insight. We are grateful to Diane and the Reading School.

Joanna Crabtree
Toronto, ON

We have loved our experience with The Reading School and recommend them strongly. Diane answered all our questions before we began the tutoring, and has remained involved. Scott has been an amazing tutor for our daughter. He is kind, patient and engages with her effortlessly. Plus, the two of them always have a laugh. Most importantly, she has progressed significantly in her reading assessments at school and is feeling much more confident about her abilities.

Bruce Sellery
Toronto, ON

We are  so lucky to have The Reading School and Diane herself to help our daughter to learn read.

Since she was 3, I had a gut feeling that our daughter was dyslexic. I didn’t believe the teachers who threw around the terms ‘overprotective parenting’ and ‘delayed development.’  While I went to my friends in the Student Service department of my school and got the names of a lot of specialists, my husband (luckily) went online and found The Reading School. I spoke to a variety of specialists who were nowhere as special or straightforward as Diane, The Reading School‘s director.

After a lengthy and thorough discussion, we invited Diane to our home to assess our daughter’s reading skills. She told us what she saw and we wanted proof: A full psycho-educational assessment confirmed what Diane had already told us. Our daughter has dyslexia.

Even before our daughter began her school year, we enlisted Diane’s bilingual skills. Our daughter was about to enter Grade 3 in a French Immersion school that she loves, and we didn’t want to pull her out without trying everything in our power to help her remain there. Diane began instructing our daughter 3 times per week in French. By the end of this year, she is better able to decode words, recognize words on sight and use her developing phonemic awareness (ability to notice the sounds in words)  to process written language more easily and to develop some fluency.

Our daughter is now in grade 4 and she’s feeling more at ease with her challenges and proud of her significant development.  Now she’s started learning to read in English because she’s going to have to read English for the first time next year.

Diane’s style and methodology are both knowledgeable and approachable. While our daughter doesn’t get excited about her lessons, she knows she is learning and she can feel a difference in herself. She wakes up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday knowing that she will begin her day with Diane and, to be honest, she doesn’t hate it. If you know anything about rambunctious 9 year-olds, you know that’s a big compliment for Diane

Diane is a professional with the right tools and skills to help our daughter learn to read with less struggle and improve her self-esteem. We are ever-grateful to have Diane on our daughter’s learning team.

Feel free to contact us to hear more about why we would recommend Diane to help your child learn to read.

Noa Daniel ~
Thornhill, ON

Diane has made a positive difference for my daughter who has Dyslexia. Not only did my daughter  progress in her reading and writing abilities, she also gained confidence in herself.  Diane made learning  fun and gave my daughter the tools she needed to overcome some of her challenges. She was very thorough in her assessment and her follow up and I appreciated the ongoing feedback and reports she provided. Diana went over and above her responsibilities.  She was flexible and generous with her time and helped me to understand the challenges my daughter faced.  She always gave more than 100%  and I would not hesitate to recommend her.

Nusrat Sheikh
Ottawa, ON

Our son started to struggle in grades 2 and 3.  High energy and a limited attention span presented challenges in understanding written text.  He had always enjoyed school but as the written word became increasingly important in the curriculum he was falling behind his peers and his engagement was flagging.

Diane worked with him for two years.  She was instrumental in helping him understand language structures and taught him decoding strategies to assist in comprehension.  She also struck the right balance in providing praise and encouragement while instilling discipline and rigour to the process.  The results were significant with improving grades, greater classroom engagement and the development of a love (well at least a “like”) of learning.

We were very disappointed when she announced her move to Toronto as we lost a valued resource.  Though we know she will continue her excellent work with families in that region.

John and Joanne Westal
Ottawa, ON

Our son has had problems with reading and writing from the outset. We went through the usual testing with a child psychologist who helped identify the problems, but we had no mechanisms to functionally address them. Diane Duff worked closely with our son to identify the specific problem areas and then she presented us with a comprehensive roadmap and set of resources to help him master the fundamentals of reading and writing. Her thorough report has helped us in our dealings with his school and put our minds at ease that, with the proper training, he will be successful in school.

Merrickville, ON

Diane was a pleasure to work with and was able to completely empathize with my frustrations. She screened my daughter for dyslexia and helped us establish a clear path to improve her  skills. Her patience was exceptional. My daughter loved her. I would highly recommend Diane.  Top Qualities: Personable, Expert, High Integrity.

Candace Derickx
Navan, ON

Diane’s knowledge of the English language, how to break it down, and work with children to build their confidence and build a customized approach is exceptional. My daughter was starting grade 3 and could not read level 1 readers. By the end of the school year she was reading at grade level… a year later she is an ‘A’ student. Not sure where we would be without Diane’s help. Thank you!

Sofia Walsh
Toronto, Ontario

My 9-year-old daughter has struggled from day one with school with language arts and reading. I was at my wits end until I found Diane Duff. Her patience, caring and compassion are what my daughter needed [and what I needed. too!] Now, I am seeing progress with my daughter’s reading abilities, and a definite lift to her self-esteem. I couldn’t be happier!

Angie Blonde
Gatineau, QC

Our son Michael has a learning disability. With funding cutbacks, we were becoming increasingly frustrated and dissatisfied with the lack of support from Michael’s regular school and sought external help. Diane Duff provided that support and more, custom-tailoring a program to Michael’s needs and helping him to achieve his full potential.

Glen & Marcia McCuaig
Mississauga, ON

Jody was assessed with a language learning disability early on in her education and the frustration and constant struggle to keep up with her peers proved to be impossible.  Diane Duff’s solution of a modified and tailored program to accommodate her needs stimulated Jody’s desire to achieve a high school diploma and now after 3 years of hard work, she will graduate this summer. Diane’s wealth of knowledge, education techniques, firm understanding of, and compassionate eye to the struggles of teenagers enabled Jody to see her dream come true.

Elizabeth McCabe
Thornhill, ON

Diane Duff is an experienced reading and dyslexia specialist. We are very grateful for the very thorough reading and academic assessments she made of our three children who are in private school. She provided us with helpful, detailed and structured recommendations. Diane has tremendous patience, is hard working and committed to her students’ best interests.

Litsa Moghadam
Ottawa, ON

We are, and will be forever, grateful for the help and continued assistance Diane Duff provides to our son who was diagnosed with dyslexia just before grade 1.  Diane opened the critical key needed to help our son start reading.  She is an invaluable figure in our son’s life and her structured remediation methods have assisted in his reading and writing skills.

Diane is an expert in literacy .She knows not only how to engage the students, but is quite astute about the specific methods that will help that student.  She has been very flexible and accommodating to our family.  Diane has also worked with our son’s school and teachers and helped to make them aware of the kind of accommodations and assistance he needs.

We would highly recommend Diane to any family who has a child in a similar situation.  Sincerely, without Diane our son would not be where he is today.

Voula and Manny Simantirakis
Ottawa, ON

In March of 2010 our son, Aldo was diagnosis with ADHD and a reading disability.   The neuropsychologist who tested Aldo recommended tutoring for his reading disability; however, he did not provide us with a community list of tutors or have a suggestion of where to begin.

I interviewed several tutors and we were filled with hope each time I ended the interview, only to receive a call from them saying that they did not think they could help us at this time either because of the French or because of the disability.

One frustrated afternoon I Googled “French Special Ed. Tutor in Ottawa’ and one name came up: Diane Duff.  I phoned her and made an appointment.  She requested that I have Aldo’s neuropsychologist assessment available for her to read.  At our interview she reviewed the assessment and explained it to me.  Diane informed me that Aldo has dyslexia and she helped me understand what to expect of him academically and how to help him.

Diane began working with Aldo in July 2, 2011. At at this time my 6 year-old son could not recognize letters or distinguish letters from numbers.  Aldo is also a charmer so he is very good at manipulating the situation so he can hide his disability. However, Diane would not allow him to charm her, but graciously and firmly led him through the lessons.

It was a slow start for Aldo, but he looked forward to his lessons with Diane.  They developed a lovely working relationship and he was disappointed if he did not have a lesson. In the beginning, Diane and Aldo worked together three times a week for 45 minutes, and then Aldo requested to add another day a week.

His confidence grew week by week and by December he knew his letters and was reading simple words and sentences.  Diane and Aldo worked together every afternoon at 4 o’clock for over a year.  Unfortunately for us, she moved back to Toronto, but by the end of the year my son was reading at his grade level.

We asked Diane if she would complete a reading assessment to give to the next tutor.  Her assessment was so thorough that we gave it to his teacher and his next tutor.  His current tutor uses it as her guide in working with Aldo.

We believe Aldo is successful in school because of Diane’s talents–not just with her ability to teach–but with her ability to connect with children who have felt shame at their inability to keep up with their classmates.

We still miss her everyday at 4 o’clock.

Debbie Mullins
Ottawa, ON

We will be forever indebted to Diane and The Reading School. Our oldest daughter was diagnosed with ADHD in grade one. She was experiencing tremendous difficulty learning to read.  Diane worked with our daughter for about 18 months. We could not be more pleased with the results.

Today our daughter is in grade three. She is an exceptional reader and constantly performs at the top of her class. Without Diane’s extraordinary teaching methods she would not have overcome her may challenges. Diane’s  approach to learning to read is exactly what our daughter needed.

With great respect we strongly recommend Diane Duff and her team.

G & B Clunie
Ottawa, ON

My ten-year old daughter, Victoria, is enrolled in a French Immersion Program and had been struggling in both French and English. After contacting various tutoring services, I decided to go with Diane because I felt really good about her — and I’m definitely glad I did! Diane helped Victoria improve her marks in all subjects, and in some cases, has helped raise them three grade levels. Victoria is now able to read confidently and accurately, and her comprehension levels have increased dramatically.

Daphne Lalonde
Richmond Hill, ON

I would highly recommend the services of Diane Duff.  Diane taught our ten year-old son for over a year.  Through her assessments, we have developed a better understanding of his learning needs.  Assessments made through the school and privately through an educational psychologist did not give us any insight into our child’s learning problems.  Diane’s assessments gave us detailed information about his learning needs and her teaching directly addressed his difficulties and helped to build a solid foundation for his literacy.  Because of Diane and our commitment to working with her, our son has made great gains.  Despite the hard work he had to do to remediate his reading and writing, he was always happy to see Diane.  Diane built a rapport with our son through the jokes they shared.  She could gauge his energy level and emotions as well as his abilities.   She was firm and expected our son to work to the best of his ability.  He rose to the challenges she laid out for him and it is credit to her teaching skills that he is thriving in school today.


Barb Miller & Colin Knight
Ottawa, ON

Our daughter had considerable difficulty with reading and writing, both in French and English.  Although the school went to great lengths to support her, she needed more help.  We were referred to Diane by another family, and are thrilled with the results.  Like many children, our daughter had developed strategies to work around and conceal her problem areas, but this resulted in the problem areas not being addressed.  Diane saw through these strategies and started with the basics to build the strong base our child didn’t have.  After several months, results started to show, but then over the summer everything just seemed to ‘gel’ and her reading dramatically improved.  She now stays up at night writing short stories under the covers, and enjoys going to school more than ever.  All of this is thanks to Diane.

Kylie and Mark Taggart
Ottawa, ON

As parents of a 7 year old, we were at a loss until we met Diane Duff.  Our son’s teachers recommended having Ben tested for his reading.  When we met Diane – she assessed his reading capabilities and gave us a detailed report that has helped Ben’s educators teach him the way he needs to be taught.  Diane’s expertise, attention to detail and warm personality helped us through this critical journey and for that, we are most grateful.

Michelle Valberg & Scott McLennan
Ottawa, ON

When our daughter couldn’t access remedial language and reading support, Diane did an excellent job catching her up.

Walter and Sue Barr
Richmond Hill, ON

We would recommend your service highly to anyone who asks – and have done so!

Kristen Douglas and Keith Egli
Ottawa, ON

My son has nonverbal LD and ADHD. Diane was invaluable  in helping him develop the reading skills he needs.

A. Miller
Ottawa, ON

We found Diane to be compassionate, focused, and able to engage our oppositional teenager in a way no other teacher had been able to do.  Our daughter liked and trusted Diane from the start, and before long,  went on to achieve “A”s.

Jenny Jackson
Ottawa, ON

Rather than have our daughter identified by a psychologist and labelled with a learning disability, we took her to Diane Duff at the end of Kindergarten.  Diane’s rapport with her was inspiring. Her abilities progressed from being able to identify only half the alphabet to recognizing sight words to reading simple books by the end of the summer!

Chris and Pat Bailey
Aurora, ON

Our daughter went through four tutors before we called Diane Duff…The improvement in Alex’s reading has been nothing short of amazing.  She has gone from reading only a few words to reading story books to her little sister.  She is now happy at school, and making good progress.


Craig and Tasha Wilson
Ottawa, On

In addition to clearly being an expert in literacy skills, Diane has been flexible and positive at all times.  Her professionalism and ability to focus on specific developmental reading skills has led our son to make fantastic progress – in both English and French!

Sean Moore
Ottawa, ON

Finding Diane Duff at The Reading School was life-changing for us. Diane assessed our daughter and developed a comprehensive plan.  We have seen incredible results.  Our daughter has gone from reading at a pre-kindergarten level to her current grade 3 level in just 7 months.

Laura & Lindsay Kotick
Kanata, ON

In my son’s own words, “Diane’s lively and really makes me think and stay focused”.  As a parent, I am very pleased with the results of the support Diane provided my son.

Bernice Wright
Ottawa, ON

When my daughter was having problems with reading comprehension, I started looking for help. After 3 or 4 tutoring agencies and private teachers, I finally found Diane Duff! What a relief!  My daughter’s grades went up, and she was more confident and very happy. She is in university now, and doing well! Thank you, Diane. You gave my daughter a future!

Anna Kaykin
Toronto, Ontario