Who we are
The Reading Language Gym opened in Claremont, Cape Town in June 2007. It provides intensive training for learners with specific barriers to literacy (dyslexia) and language-related learning challenges, from grades 1 to 12. We work within a model of ability rather than disability. About 5 to 10% of school-going children have some form of dyslexia. These children are normally bright but experience specific barriers to learning, usually in the areas involving reading, spelling and written language. These difficulties can lead to significant issues of self esteem. At The Reading Language Gym we help children to demystify learning barriers, build self esteem and attain good work practices.
We exercise children’s oral language, reading and spelling skills, just as one would exercise one’s muscles at a gym. Our work requires children to invest their time, work through repetition and, crucially, show commitment. An intervention plan is created based on an in-depth assessment. We train underlying skills such as:
- awareness of sounds in words (phonological awareness)
- letter knowledge and knowledge of common word patterns
- reading accuracy and reading fluency
- reading comprehension
- spelling and dictation
- oral language (vocabulary, grammar and practice in the use of academic language)
- Written language and practice in the use and understanding of academic language for middle and high school learners
We train children to take risks and make errors and, subsequently, learn from them. At The Reading Language Gym, children support and help one another along their journey. The Reading Language Gym is a creative, accepting and supportive learning environment. All intervention is strongly based on – and robustly supported by – research.
Peter Bateman (Elizabeth’s twin brother); Kathy and David Robins and the Solomon, Gischen and Logan Families for their financial and moral support; to Megan Furniss and her Theatre Sports players for their recordings; to Carey-Ann and Dealtry for their creative help; to Rudy, Nathan and Ruth for letting me do this and to all others for supporting the magic of The Reading Language Gym.