Have fun teaching your student(s) to read with Sammy and the Magical Reading Chest.


"If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn."

Ignacio Estrada 

Our History

Richards Learning Systems ®(RLS) is based on the Orton-Gillingham system developed in the 1930’s by neurologist, Dr. Samuel Orton, and two teachers, Anna Gillingham and Bessie Stillman.

Written over 30 years ago by Carole Richards, Chairman of North Coast Education Services, The Creative Education Institute and Richards Learning Systems. Students start with little words and then move to bigger words by breaking them into smaller pieces (syllables). These exercises develop reading, writing, decoding, and spelling skills simultaneously. It is proven successful one-on-one, in small groups, and in mainstream classrooms. 

Sammy and the Magical Reading Chest is a new delivery method of the proven Richards Learning Systems reading program. With 77 five-minute episodic videos children learn to read at the same time the teacher/parent is trained to teach the fun and engaging Sammy Program. This happens over a two to four year period.

RLS is effective with different learning styles and learning differences because of the multi-sensory techniques. By encouraging and supporting individual success, the program builds self-esteem and self-confidence.

RLS includes the National Reading Panel's recommendations for literacy instruction, including phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Carole Richards: President, and Author of Richards Learning Systems®

President Carole Richards has been dedicated to improving literacy from her first teaching job in the Cleveland Public Schools. Since then, Carole formed North Coast Education Services in 1985 in her dining room with a tiny $200 bankroll. Now, more than 30 years later, the company has become an education force in Ohio and has expanded tremendously. North Coast Education Services now utilizes more than 300 degreed, professional, and trained tutors. It provides in-home tutoring and other services through seven Northeast Ohio counties and beyond.

Carole is recognized as an education innovator in developing skills for students with special learning needs and other struggling learners. She presents teacher training in-service programs and workshops featuring Richards Learning Systems® (RLS) and other topics. She is a literacy consultant to parents and schools.

Carole created Richards Learning Systems® over three decades. It is a systematic and multi-sensory approach to language arts, counts many student successes, and is effective with children and adults. Research from the RLS programs used in the Cleveland Public Schools and other districts document dramatic and successful reading improvement among children. In 2021, she launched the Pre-K-3 RLS program in a new five-minute video delivery method training teachers/parents and teaching children to read at the same time.

Statistical data about RLS developed by Case Western Reserve University and other research organizations showed dramatic skills improvement among “at risk” students. The program has been introduced to numerous schools and districts, including the special education teachers and students in the Euclid City Schools — the fifth largest urban school in Ohio.

In 1992, Carole formed the not-for-profit Creative Education Institute (CEI). Its mission is to affect change through improved literacy. CEI developed and ran the successful A to Z Welfare to Work Program in Cuyahoga County for nearly five years. CEI ran the six-week Academic Fun & Fitness Camp for sixteen years.  This camp, for children with learning disabilities, included reading, math, theater arts, hands-on science, art therapy, and much more. School districts and prominent Cleveland-area foundations funded the camp.

A graduate of Miami University of Ohio, Carole held teaching positions in several Cleveland-area schools. She garnered extensive teaching experience in the classroom working with “at risk” students. Carole and her husband live in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Her daughter, Linnea Smith, joined North Coast Education Services as President in 2020.

Success Stories

There are many successes experienced by children and adults who have been taught to
read using the Richards Learning Systems® (RLS) curriculum.

Success Stories: Robin

Robin, who at age 10 and in the fifth grade, couldn't read three letter words. Robin, and her entire class of 25 students, were taught using the RLS curriculum.

  • By the end of the first year Robin scored almost at the 4th
    grade level in reading, and at the 5th grade+ level in reading
  • At the end of the second year, she gained 14 Normal Curve
    Equivalent (NCE) 1 in reading comprehension, while the average gain in one year is 3.
  • What is most amazing is that Robin won the Cleveland Schools Regional Writing contest the very next year.

Success Stories: David

David, who at age 15, was two years behind in school in the eighth grade.

  • His first grade teacher told his parents that he would never learn to read. He found himself in special education classes ever since.
  • His test scores indicated he had second to third grade level academic skills. He couldn’t read, spell, write or even subtract. He was dejected with failure and didn't often interact with family or friends.
  • He left public school, enrolled in a home school program, and after two years of tutoring using the RLS curriculum, he finally saw results.
  • After enrolling in a new public school, he was re-tested and had gained five years in all his academic achievement areas, and his reading comprehension had sky rocketed to the college level!
  • David graduated with honors from his high school, attended a community college and then transferred to a four-year liberal arts college. After being isolated for so long, he joined every club that interested him in college. He graduated on time, with better than a 3.4 grade point average.
  • What is most amazing about David's story? David has graduated from law school and passed the Ohio Bar exam.

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