Why choose the DRCCExtensive background, experience, and expertise.
DR. KAREN VAVRA (B.Ed., M.Ed., Ph.D.)
Literacy Assessment & Intervention Specialist
Dr. Vavra is the founding director of the Diagnostic Reading Centre of Calgary (DRCC). For the past 30 years, she has specialized in language and literacy development, assessment, and education in her varied roles as a highly-regarded teacher, consultant, and researcher.
In her private practice at the Diagnostic Reading Centre of Calgary (DRCC), Dr. Vavra draws upon her vast knowledge and experience in current language and literacy research and practices to serve the needs of her clients. Her comprehensive, diagnostic assessments investigate the source and nature of each learner’s language and literacy difficulties (i.e., developmental skill level and patterns of strengths and needs) to determine the most effective instructional methods, strategies, and print materials for improving language, reading, and writing proficiency. The main difference between the specialized, educational services at the Diagnostic Reading Centre of Calgary and other tutoring agencies is Dr. Vavra’s understanding of the developmental progression and integration of reading, writing, and language skills and how they impact literacy development.
Dr. Vavra has a B.Ed. degree in Special Education (learning disabilities focus) (University of Calgary), and M.Ed. and Ph.D. degrees in Language and Literacy Education (University of Alberta) with advanced training and certification in literacy and psychological assessment:
Level B Psychological Assessment (Achievement-Academic Testing);
Field-based practicum of verbal report methodology and testing of early language and literacy skills;
Reading Specialist with the Northern Alberta Reading Specialists’ Council of the International Literacy Association.
Her Master’s thesis involved a critical analysis of reading fluency and her doctoral research included an exploratory study of children’s thinking and reasoning on the new Canadian-normed, Test of Early Language and Literacy (TELL). During her graduate studies, Dr. Vavra received numerous scholarships and awards for outstanding academic achievement including the prestigious national SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship. In addition, she co-authored several refereed academic research articles and presented at leading national and international refereed conferences.
During her teaching career, Dr. Vavra worked as a resource teacher for 10 years, providing high quality diagnostic assessment and individualized literacy instruction to students with complex learning needs.
As an inspiring educator, she was well-respected for her professionalism and ability to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate with parents and other professionals (i.e., teachers, teaching assistants, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, vision and deaf and hard of hearing consultants, and occupational therapists) in addressing each student’s specific learning challenges. In recognition of her exemplary performance, she was honoured with a distinguished teaching award to attend a prominent international literacy conference in Australia.
PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE
Dr. Vavra was a literacy specialist/consultant for the Language Arts department of a large urban school district offering direct support, consultation, and presentations for teachers, school administrators, instructional assistants, psychologists, and parents. Subsequently, she completed a two-year secondment with the Calgary Learning Centre (renamed CanLearn Society) as a member of the multi-disciplinary clinical team involved in research, assessment, diagnosis, and intervention for individuals with Specific Learning Disorder (with impairment in reading and/or written expression) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD).
As a literacy consultant, Dr. Vavra collaboratively developed many practical and research-based instructional resources for teachers including support documents for English Language Arts curriculum, instruction, and assessment. She also facilitated workshops and presentations focused on addressing the needs of individuals with learning and literacy challenges such as:
Calgary Learning Centre - Saturday Workshop Series for teacher professional development and online seminar: Practical & Effective Strategies to Support Students with Learning Disabilities;
Province-wide information sessions for the dissemination of a new teaching resource: Unlocking Potential: Key Components of Programming for Students with Learning Disabilities (Alberta Education-Special Education Branch);
University of Calgary Master of Teaching Program - Special Education Workshop Series for preservice teachers: Adjustments for Students with Learning Disabilities in the Regular Classroom.
Supporting individuals with reading, writing, and language difficulties.
The Diagnostic Reading Centre of Calgary (DRCC) provides specialized, diagnostic language and literacy assessment, intervention, and consultation services for children, adolescents, and adults who experience significant and persistent challenges in language, reading, and/or writing development.