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Lakewood Ranch educator tries to make reading fun through new business

Summerfield's Gwyn Ingham uses her passion for reading and books to start For the Love of Reading.

Gwyn Ingham, the owner of For the Love of Reading, uses Orton-Gillingham methods during her private reading instruction with Scarlett Samson.
Gwyn Ingham, the owner of For the Love of Reading, uses Orton-Gillingham methods during her private reading instruction with Scarlett Samson.
Courtesy photo
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When Gwyn Ingham’s son Ethan was in second grade at Wakeland Elementary in Samoset a decade ago, she was told he might have to be retained. 

A teacher at Wakeland at the time, she knew his school had tried various methods to make reading fun for her son and to help him.

“It was frustrating for me as an educator that he wasn’t enjoying it,” said Ingham, who was not his teacher. “It’s a scary thing when you’re in a (Individualized Education Program) meeting and they’re telling you everything that your kid can’t do.”

Knowing how helpless parents can feel when their children are struggling to read, Ingham wants to help children through her new business, For the Love of Reading, which she just started. 

Summerfield's Gwyn Ingham uses her passion for reading to help teach children how to read.
Photo by Liz Ramos

Ingham, who lives in Summerfield and who has been teaching at Gilbert W. McNeal Elementary, has taken a leave of absence after 20 years in the classroom to focus on her new business.

“Seeing them make connections, and feeling so empowered as readers, is the most amazing feeling," Ingham said. "It’s driven me to want to be the best reading teacher I can be. I have a masters in reading, but I kept feeling like there’s more I need to know to be able to help readers that aren’t being reached in more of a traditional reading instruction.”

Ingham found Orton-Gillingham, a multi-sensory, structured approach that breaks reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds and then builds on those skills over time.

Besides sharing her passion for reading in her new business, she also shares her passion for books, especially children’s books.

“I don’t think I was a great reader as a kid, but I enjoyed books,” Ingham said. “I enjoyed looking at books, I enjoyed listening to stories. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve fallen in love with children’s books. The way I look at children’s books now is they’re not just children’s books, they’re coffee table books. They’re deep and they’re powerful. They’re great for people of all ages. I want everybody to feel the power of these books and love them as much as I do.”

Ingham’s love for reading stems from her childhood. She still has her favorite book, “The Color is Red.”

“It was the illustrations that drew me to it,” she said. “I loved that each page was filled with very vivid, beautiful illustrations with beautiful colors.”

In the classroom, reading instruction was always Ingham’s favorite part of the school day. She was always sad when it was time to move onto a new subject. 

Now she spends each day going to her students’ homes. She hopes in nine to 12 months that she can afford to rent an office space. 

Once it’s not as hot outside, Ingham hopes to set up shop in a Lakewood Ranch park so she can spend less time traveling to lessons and more time helping students. 

Gwyn Ingham, the owner of For the Love Reading, visits children like Scarlett Samson at their homes to provide one-on-one lessons in reading.
Courtesy photo

For the Love of Reading is Ingham’s first step toward reaching her dream. She hopes to own a bookstore where can continue her private reading instruction while sharing her love for reading with anyone who comes into her store. 

When she attended an American Booksellers Association conference last summer, it inspired her to take her leave of absence from teaching at McNeal to start her business. 

Over this past spring break she underwent the Orton-Gillingham training and in June, she started For the Love of Reading with five students.

Through her lessons, Ingham said she’s loved being able to see the progress her students make quickly. For example, she said one of her students who is dyslexic is now reading three-syllable words.

Ingham said she is blessed to be able to start For the Love of Reading. She recalled working with a boy who struggled in their initial sessions together, but on July 14, the boy told her it was his “best day ever” and reading was “so much fun” because he could read words he couldn’t a few days before. 

Ingham said she wishes she knew about the Orton-Gillingham approach when Ethan Ingham was in elementary school. He graduated from college this year. 



Liz Ramos

Liz Ramos covers education and community for East County. Before moving to Florida, Liz was an education reporter for the Lynchburg News & Advance in Virginia for two years after graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism.

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