Thousands of students have learned to read as a result of The Rye Learning Center, founded here 30 years ago by Catherine Constable. Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, at 20 Chestnut Street, the center’s façade belies the powerhouse it is in the literacy community.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Thousands of students have learned to read as a result of The Rye Learning Center, founded here 30 years ago by Catherine Constable. Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, at 20 Chestnut Street, the center’s façade belies the powerhouse it is in the literacy community. It provides clients from age 2 through adulthood with intervention and evaluation for speech, language, vision, literacy, and learning.
“My goal is that whatever intervention I do opens doors for my clients. I want them to have as many opportunities as possible,” said Constable, who treats every client individually.
She especially loves working with children, and collaborates with schools throughout Westchester and Rockland counties, and New York City as well as Southern Connecticut. She tailors a program for each child in accordance with the sum of his/her experiences at school and at home.
“My love is to teach literacy to kids with a history of speech or language learning differences, who are at higher risk,” she remarked. “When working with children, a big part of what I do is educating parents.”
Having designed a Pre-K through 2 literacy program for children at risk for reading difficulty, she implements the Constable Literacy Procedures at the Learning Center. Her program is also utilized at The Parkside School in New York City, where Constable serves as a Literacy Consultant and Supervisor.
“Since I’ve always straddled clinical practice with academia, I have a lot to offer. I come from a long line of educators and I was always going to stay in higher education,” explained Constable, who grew up in Philadelphia and whose father was an elementary school principal. “This center was never my plan.”
A residency year in New York, however, altered the course of her life. While an instructor at Bloomsburg State University in Pennsylvania, Constable got her first taste of teaching children with speech and language learning delays at a preschool on campus. Subsequently, she took a leave of absence to attend a doctoral program at the Graduate Center of the City of New York. She met her husband, found an apartment in Rye, and started seeing private clients in Westchester. Before long, she opened The Rye Learning Center’s doors in 1984.
Through word of mouth, Constable’s reputation as a dedicated and effective speech pathologist spread. “A set of business cards was the extent of my marketing.”
The center offers a computer room and two preschool rooms with art supplies and equipment for activity-based intervention. One room has a one-way window that allows parents to observe their children. Constable generally sees kids privately for one hour between 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. five days a week. There are various group sessions, classes, Kindergarten extension, and summer programs available as well. For more information, call 921-0317.