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Welcome to Compass Reading Center

Our Mission

The fundamental purpose of the Compass Reading Center is to provide the highest quality, state-of-the-art, individualized Multisensory Structured Language Instruction to children (elementary to high school) with dyslexia or a specific learning disability. These services are to be provided without regard for ethnicity, gender, religious or other affiliations. Generally, tutoring services are offered two sessions per week for one hour each.

Compass Reading Center also provides state-of-the-art training in Multisensory Structured Language Education to graduate students and other degreed individuals. Tutors are trained in the art, science, and practice of tutoring children using the Orton-Gillingham approach to mutlisensory teaching of reading, spelling, and writing.

How Our Program Works

Following entry level student testing, trained tutors and apprentice tutors are assigned students by the Center Director. Each student generally receives two 1 hour lessons weekly. Most  tutoring lessons are private. All tutoring follows lesson plans designed to meet the individual needs of the child. Most students complete the program in two years.

Compass follows the Orton-Gillingham approach, an established, proven, effective multisensory treatment for dyslexia.


The Orton-Gillingham Instructional Approach is

  1. Neurological basis: sets down neurological pathways in the brain

  2. Diagnostic and prescriptive: discovers what the child needs to know and teaches to it

  3. Multisensory: Visual - Auditory - Kinesthetic - Tactile

  4. Structured and sequential: The elements of language are introduced systematically and in an orderly fashion; children begin by reading and writing sounds in isolation, then they blend the sounds into syllables and words, progressing to sentences and paragraphs

  5. Synthetic and analytic: learning is based on parts made into the whole

  6. Cumulative: lessons go from simple to complex and are based on previous learning

  7. Cognitive: teaches the history of language and the rules and generalizations that govern it

  8. Flexible: because no child is exactly alike, lessons vary with each child

  9. Taught toward mastery and automaticity: continual review of previously learned material

  10. Emotionally sound: the child always finds success, thereby gaining confidence as well as skill


The Orton-Gillingham curriculum teaches, at appropriate developmental times, phonograms for decoding and encoding, spelling rules and generalizations, and syllable types. In addition, an appropriate mastery of non-phonetic (sight) words is expected. Reading is very controlled initially. Eventually, other materials are introduced that have been previewed for the decodability and /or level of the child.

Meet our Staff


Dr. Jill Merritt



Dr. Jill Merritt is currently an Associate Professor in Early Childhood, Special Education, and Graduate Programs at Gannon University. Before teaching in higher education Dr. Merritt had 13 years of experience teaching in special education classrooms in the public school setting. Over recent years, Jill has held positions as the Wesleyville Borough Council President, President of the Arc of Erie, and a Special Education advocate. She has three children and spends may hours at the soccer field and hockey rink.

Tutorial Staff

A team fully trained tutors Compass tutors must meet minimum qualification standards:

  • Must have a Bachelor's or higher degree

  • Must be trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach by a trainer with Compass Reading Center Trainer Certification.

  • Orton-Gillingham training includes at least 45 hours of seminars with an additional 100 hours of supervised one- on-one practicum.


Sheree Auell, Certified Tutor

Sheree has a Bachelor of Science in Education and has been teaching for twenty-three years.


Kelly Bongiorno, Certified Tutor

Kelly has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and has been teaching for fifteen years.


Pam Kavala, Certified Tutor

Pam has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and has been teaching for fifteen years.


Beth Keller, Certified Tutor

Beth has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and has been teaching for fifteen years.

Administrative Staff

Kaitlyn Kelly, Office Manager


Board of Directors

Dr. Douglas Buyer, Chairman

Rev. Richard Elberfeld, Jr., Vice Chairman

Donna Eaton, Secretary

Paul Kubeja, Treasurer

Greg Hall

Melissa Romero

Donna Rose

Lisa Graff

Jim McMann


It's hard to believe that just over a year ago our son completed his time at the Compass Learning Center. I just wanted to let you know how he is doing. He finished last year with an average 'B' for all his classes in ninth grade. He even took an Academic Sports League class where he was required to give several speeches!...I can't thank you enough for all the time and patience you showed my son over the years. He is doing so well today because of the lessons you taught him and the never ending encouragement you gave. I even hear him telling his brothers things he learned from you to hip them with their work.
- a parent

You have been a life line for our son... Our hearts are eternally grateful.
- a parent

Thank you for your presence in our community and in our lives. We will miss your smiles.
- a family

Our daughter is getting A's and B's now in Reading and English thanks to Compass Reading Center.
- a parent

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