The Story Behind PRIDE Learning Center – from the Founder

The Story Behind PRIDE Learning Center – from the Founder


Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone had an amazing winter break with a lot of relaxation and rest.  I am feeling rested and excited to get back to work at PRIDE.  I love this company so much and I love working in it and on it every single day.  In this January issue of our newsletter I want to share the story of PRIDE and how it all began…

Many of you know that both my children are in Special Education.  My son was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD at age 5 and my daughter, who was born 2 months premature, was equally diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD at age 4.  


I was a 2nd grade teacher by profession and an avid reader myself.  I would read and read to my son in Kindergarten and First Grade and try to teach him the letters and sounds, just like I had been taught to do in all of my teaching credential coursework and school district core literature training.  He just wasn’t getting it.  I would have conferences with his classroom teacher, and she would say, “he is just immature, he will get it sooner or later.”  I wasn’t convinced. So, I had him tested and I learned that mother’s intuition is always right.  Sure enough, he has a learning disability and was eligible for special services at school starting in 2nd grade.  


The services began.  He would get pulled out of class and go to a Resource Classroom and receive reading help. The school assured me that he was getting the right help and was in the right place.   After a year of this, he still couldn’t read.  These programs obviously weren’t the answer to his problems and I was starting to get frustrated and discouraged with the school’s intervention program.  I was getting desperate for help and  I did not know how or where to find it.  It was consuming all of my time.   I began to investigate and research reading programs determined to figure out how to help my child, I just wasn’t trusting the school anymore to help him.  


During this time, I came across the Orton-Gillingham method.  I was fascinated by this program and decided to become certified in it and practice it with my son.  Being a teacher myself, I caught on quickly and I was highly motivated to master it.  I soon found out that it was the answer to my son’s reading struggles.  He started reading.  I finally figured it out.


The Orton-Gillingham is a very structured, sequential, cumulative and step by step program.  It has a very unique scope and sequence meant for children with dyslexia and reading disabilities.  It is multisensory, meaning the children need to use their eyes, ears, voice and hands to read.  I became extremely involved with the Orton-Gillingham and active in many learning disability organizations worldwide.  


When I first began PRIDE Learning Center, I started out as the only teacher in a small space with a handful of students.  As the years  evolved, PRIDE Learning Center has gone from 1 teacher (me) to now having over 125 teachers all over Southern California that we hire, train and manage!


In 2015 we decided to try our first on-site summer reading camp in Yorba Linda, California. The students came to the reading camp for 4-6 weeks from 9:00 – 12:00 Monday – Friday.  We rented a space from a Chabad Jewish Center in Yorba Linda.   It was a huge success and this summer we will be running 14 summer reading camps using the same model as we did in Yorba Linda, renting spaces from local churches, temples and schools.



Over the past 12 years I have worked hard and made relationships with psychologists, psychiatrists, developmental pediatricians, neurologists, speech and language therapists and other professionals who help kids everyday in our communities. I have worked with teachers and staff members of many public and private and special needs schools throughout Southern California.  


The success of PRIDE Learning Centers has been in large part due to our ability to attract and maintain a dedicated staff of qualified teachers and who are using what I consider, the perfect reading program.  Our teachers have credentials and Master’s Degrees in Special Education, Literacy, Linguistics, Reading, Psychology and undergo extensive training at PRIDE Learning Center in the Orton-Gillingham methodology.  They are supported with weekly mentoring sessions and ongoing training so that we can provide our students with the very best learning experiences possible.


PRIDE Learning Center continues to grow and respond to the needs of the Southern California communities.  I am so proud of the success of this company and what all the PRIDE Learning Center teachers have accomplished in the past  years.


This January, 2017 we turn 12 years old!  Thank you to all of our wonderful staff, students, parents and professionals who have made these past 12 years an amazing experience.  And most importantly,  Thank you Orton-Gillingham!  Without you, my son wouldn’t be on his way to college right now to become a teacher.  Yes, you read that correctly, a teacher.  


Thank you all for your ongoing support.  

Karina Richland, M.A.


PRIDE Learning Centers