Meet The Reading Guru Tutors

Joanna Brown, The Reading Guru

Joanna Brown

Joanna Brown, founder and CEO of The Reading Guru, is a master Orton-Gillingham reading tutor with more than 15 years of experience providing personalized, one-on-one reading instruction. Joanna earned her M.S. in Elementary Education and Literacy from Bank Street College of Education in New York City in 2011, and her B.A. in History from the University of Colorado in 2004. 

Joanna is certified by the Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI) as a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist (C-SLDS). Joanna earned this certification through training at the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) as well as with the digital, multisensory training program, Lexercise. She also has training with the Orton-Gillingham based, multi-sensory program Preventing Academic Failure (PAF).

Joanna began tutoring children in reading in New York City in 2005. She has worked with hundreds of struggling readers, dyslexic readers, and readers needing enrichment and became one of the most in-demand Orton-Gillingham tutors in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In 2019, she founded The Reading Guru and began developing a series of tools and techniques to allow her to bring her Orton-Gillingham-based literacy tutoring to students all over the world.

Joanna and her team of highly experienced tutors now work virtually with students who attend private schools, public schools, charter schools, and homeschools, both in the United States and internationally, so they understand the challenges students face in dramatically different educational environments. She and her team also work with students who have a variety of educational differences including dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, speech and language disorders, writing issues, and executive functioning issues. The Reading Guru team also offers in-person reading tutoring in Denver.

In addition to her teaching and tutoring work, Joanna writes comedy, watches horror movies, fosters dogs and figure skates in her spare time.


Jess Krook Orton-Gillingham reading tutor

Jess Krook

Jess Krook is a master educator with 23 years of experience teaching children in grades Kindergarten to 5th grade.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist in the state of Massachusetts.  Jess is currently a Reading Specialist servicing students in grades Kindergarten to 5th grade.  She is always looking to grow and learn as an educator and she enjoys taking courses based on current reading research. She is trained in Orton-Gillingham, Fundations, SPIRE, the Science of Reading, Heggerty, Keys to Literacy, and Telian Letters. She provides online Orton-Gillingham tutoring.

When she first started her teaching career she realized very quickly that teaching her students how to read gave her the greatest joy.  

For Jess, “This is more than just a job to me, this is my passion! I enjoy assessing my students to find out their strengths and weaknesses and tailoring my lessons accordingly. The best part of my job is when that lightbulb goes off in their head and they feel successful!”

Jess is a wife, mom to 3 children, and a dog mom to a teacup Yorkie named Lulu. In her spare time you can catch her at the football field or baseball field watching her son, or at the dance studio where her daughters dance competitively.  


Katelan McCullum Hirsch Orton Gillingham OG tutor

Katelan McCullum Hirsch

Katelan McCullum Hirsch is a highly experienced reading tutor with 10 years of experience in elementary education. She received her B.S. in Education from the University of Kentucky and M.Ed, Literacy Specialist from the University of the Cumberlands.

She has received training on the Orton Gillingham approach, Carolyn Gwen for guided reading, WIDA for English language learners and SEL (social emotional learning). Katelan provides online Orton-Gillingham tutoring.

She worked as an elementary educator at a Title 1 school in Indiana for the past decade with roles ranging from kindergarten and second grade teacher, Academic Improvement Coordinator and reading interventionist. She has experience working with students of diverse backgrounds with various educational needs in a small group setting.

Katelan has a calm, patient, nurturing and understanding approach that helps her to connect with students.

She resides in Louisville, KY. In addition to tutoring, she enjoys spending time with her husband, son and dog. She also enjoys going to concerts and hiking.


Shauna Adams reading tutor

Shauna Adams

Shauna Adams is a highly experienced educator with over 11 years of teaching experience.  She has a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Special Education, and she received comprehensive Orton-Gillingham training with The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education.  

She currently works as a special education teacher in Denver where she provides reading and math intervention to elementary-aged students and uses Orton-Gillingham methods with her students each day. She is keenly aware of students’ unique needs as they relate to specific learning disabilities including dyslexia, autism, and physical disabilities. She provides multi-sensory, language-based intervention which includes visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic modes of learning.

Shauna previously worked as a behavior health specialist and a mental health counselor for many years and counseled students with various mental health diagnoses and autism. She understands the impacts of mental health and learning differences on educational success.  

In her free time, Shauna enjoys spending time with her ten amazing grandchildren.

Melanie Zgabay

Melanie Zgabay

Melanie Zgabay is a master educator with over twenty years of teaching experience. She recently retired from teaching middle school English full-time, and is currently working part-time as a Reading Interventionist. Melanie received Bachelor’s Degrees in Education and Journalism from Baylor University and has over thirty graduate hours in Reading and Creative Writing from Regis University. She has received training in Orton-Gillingham (OG) and is currently learning the Tattum integrated reading program. To further improve as a reading intervention teacher and tutor, Melanie plans to continue studying advanced OG training. For fun, she also informally researches and studies neuroscience and is fascinated with how our brains learn and evolve.

Melanie worked for 18 years as a sixth-grade language arts teacher at a top ranked elementary school (and three-time recipient of the nationally acclaimed Blue Ribbon award) in Colorado before she retired from the classroom in 2023. She also has experience working with small groups and is especially proficient at working with students who deal with dyslexia, ADHD, writing issues, and executive functioning issues. She is known for her sense of humor and fairness.

Out of the education realm, Melanie is also a certified personal trainer, avid dog lover, voracious reader, creative writer, and fervent car collector. She lives in Golden, Colorado with her husband and three dogs in an empty nest although luckily her two grown sons live, work, and thrive nearby in Denver!

CERI certified dyslexia tutor

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