Letters from Children

oWhen children and adolescents leave The Reading Language Gym they are asked to reflect on their learning and leave a message for other children with barriers to learning.  Here are some of the letters:

For ease of reading, these letters have been typed up, without editing.

S: 14 years old in Grade 8

I am 14 years old. I am in Gr8. My main skill is math. Some of my hobbies include surfing and Doodiling littel Drawings in my school books.

I came to the Reading Gym because of the severity of my dislexia and because the special needs school I was at wasn’t helping me much

I learnt all about Dislexia during my time at the RLG, I oviosly also learnt how to read and spell better.

My fav thing about My time here where all the fun experimant even if I had to read the instructions what felt like 100 times. I love everything about the the RLG nothing was ever boring with Elizabeth. (you alway made my day)

My message for all kids going throgh the RLG is dont give up even if it’s hard you’ll make it throgh even if it takes a long time it will all be worth it trust me. Also neve be afrad to right bed at the top of your page it help alot even if it’s inbaricing. (I still do it)

P: 10 Years Old

My name is P I’m in Grade 4 and 10 years old. I realy injoy swimming as a hobby and as a sport competivly. I don’t always win infact I get desqualifyd but I never gave up. When I first came I was useless at spelling, reading ok but as Elisibith said “you have octpus fingers!” I used to be sooooo inbairesed when teacher said how is reading gym I wanted to cry. I was jelous because my friend was reading Harry Potter in grade two. In grade 3 a boy gave me a book about Malala it gave me incoragmint. Now I finesed the second Harry Potter. I always say “Mom please say good night” hoping she wont come so I can keep reading

“Thing I liked and did not like.” Well lockdown that was the worst though I still kept getting better. I loved experiment partly to not do work joking.

To all that are not leaving.
I now how you feel when will I go and not fair. Don’t feel embarrased there are more just like you that strugle with reading and spelling. Never give up.

L: 11 Years Old

My name is L I am 11 years old, I started language gym when I was 8 years old
In grade three. When I joined, I felt nervous that some children would laugh at me but I felt a mix of excitement as well because I thought I might learn how to read and write. In grade 3 in class I would read books in front of the class. I also could not read my own handwriting and I could hear giggling at the back of the class and it made me feel more nervous than I already was. I saw other kids reading big books at a much higher level than I was and I was thinking ahead to high school and I thought I still would not be able read well.

The things I learned and how I improved:
In grade 4 I saw other gym kids coming into language gym and they introduced themselves and they had the same problems as I did. This made me feel a bit better about myself. I learned that it was OK to sound out words when reading. Things in my mind changed – like my nervousness and reading is now a hobby of mine. By grade 5, at the end of the day I thought that Language Gym was too much for me, but I still wanted to improve. I enjoyed seeing my improvement because I noticed that my words were getting harder in spelling and I enjoyed a challenged doing them and doodling next to the words.

A message to other kids who still need to train at the Reading Gym:
When kids graduated, I felt left out, like not being picked in a team in socker. When they said, “don’t give up.” I felt irritated! But I didn’t notice that I wasn’t giving up because I wanted to learn more and, I was pushing on!

G: 10 Years Old

Hi there my name is G I am 10 years old and my favourite things to do is probably play roblox. I came to the landwich gym because it was hard to read words and spelling. I only read because of an reward after but now I love reading storys! Sometimes I felt like giving up and it’s good to have encouragement from people. To the children that stay here “never give up and always look forward.”

M: Grade 7

I went to many English tuters, they met me in offaces, same gloomy room or a place which has too many posters. But what I found is that the Reading Gym is different, it’s a house a home. When I fist saw it I laughfed at it, we do spelling in the kitchen and eat bisciets in the lounge, but that’s what the reading gym is, it’s a home a family for all of us. It feels like I’m at home, and that’s because I am.
My name is M and although my handwriting is horrible and so is my spelling, I love to wright, to make lays with my sister. To creat something that others can read and in doing so read a part of me. I’m in grade 7 and have been in the reading gym for three years.
Before I went to the reading gym I cound’nt spell, cound’nt put sentensense together, cound’nt stand infront of a class with out trembelling. Now I can spell so people understand what I am wrighting and I can ase essays and compretions. I can stand in front of a class and say what I want to say, feeling proud that I didn’t crumble and let my stage fright take over what I have to say. Now I know learing, improving does’nt take one day. It takes practes dedication and hard work.
The reading gym dose things like experiment to help you learn. You wright the words you have learned on a wall, I mean what better way of ending a day off knowing you’ve learned a word that you never dremped of trying to wright not so long ago. The only thing is that they never have my favourite typ of biscuis, I mean who like’s marie biscutes espessaly cardboard tasting ones.
For all you people out their its not the best handwriting that matters, or even the horrendes spelling. It’s what your reaction to this learner that makes what this writing is, it’s the decisions you make out of it that really define this letter.

O: 10 Years Old

Hi my name is O I am 10 years old
I Love animals Lions and horses are my favorate like Duke a horse that I know also love art and horse riding.
I came to the langwige gym at the age of 7 and half I also came because I had dysletia miled I struggled with writing and spelling I know these words are spelled wrong but I know I will get better at it. I improved a lot! When I mean a lot I mean a lot. Like I said I learnt how to read and writ I didn’t tell you but I couldn’t read a single word even easy ones
I insist that the staff should read the finall letters beffor you start the sicel. I loved icspimints and writing out side and spelling with the ball I hated pounding and writing in the air and then remembering.
This message is for new and for people riting the final letter it is like a sicel like the sercel of life some things you hate some things you love and when I was reading I was conpetotev so I read realy fast to get higher scores but one day I read slow and I acshally got higher numbers then I read slow and steady It is like steddy edy and storming norman. When you slow you win because you are always in your lane and storming norman you are not in your lane and you lose.
But eny way you will get there don’t worry trust me it works and thank you to the staff and to Elizabeth.

N: 13 years old in Grade 7

My name N I am 13 years old in grade 7. I am good at waterpolo and rugby. I love to build Lego and go fishing. Engerniering and Lego are huge interests of mine and always will be.
I came to the Reading Gym because I struggled to read and spelling was really my biggest challenge.
I have learned so much at the Reading Gym like where to put speech marks and they helped me fight my evil friend spelling. In my tests I have applied the things I learned and my marks went up.
The most interesting things were the experiments. I always had fun so it was never boring. It was only difficult at the begining but I pushed through and now it is a piece of cake.
If you think you will be here forever, throw that down the drain. Just pay attention and push through. It works.
Thank you Reading Gym

Book Review on Keeper of the Lost Cities

About Me
I am E, I’m in grade five and I’m 10 years old.
I like book about fantasy with lots of excitement. My interests are drawing, reading, writing, horse riding and making videos.

Title: Keeper of the Lost Cities
Author: Shannon Messenger
Number of books: 9 and two more to come.
Genre: fantasy and adventure.

Summary book 1:
12 year old Sophie is telepathic which means she can hear thoughts of other people around her.
The day Sophie meets Fitz, she finds out she’s an elf And has to leave her old life behind and start a new one.

Favourite characters
Sophie is reckless and adventurous and for a girl who doesn’t like the doctor she’s there a lot.
Fitz is related to someone in the council, and he has very bad anger issues.
Keefe is very funny and just…relatable.
Dex is Sophie’s best friend and knows how to rob an atm.

I would recommend this book to age 10/11 and up, because there are hard words and lots of pages (200 and UP)
Also people who like Harry Potter would enjoy this book too!

A: Grade 7: A description of the Reading Language Gym

A pink building around the roundabout. White roses at the wall, smiling you in. Another smile as you open the door. A wall of hearts showing the kindness of the Gym. A comphy sofa strewn with animal hot water bottles. A book shelf with a rambling selection of exciting literature, a new story in each book. In the whirring computer room you hear the loud voice of someone reading out loud and the stooping voice of someone syllabising a word. But, the life and soul of the Reading Gym is in the wonderful women who run it, giving it meaning and worth, making it the wonderful place it is.

D: Aged 14 Grade 9

About me:

My name is D, I am 14 and in Grade 9 at X School. One of my major skills is being artistic. My hobbies are as follows: skateboarding, surfing and most of all school sports, and I have a wide spread of interests like music, movies, pictures and series.

Why I came to train at The Reading Language Gym:

In the beginning of my reading gym experience I really didn’t see the point that was until my last session and that’s when I realised that my reading and comprehending skill improved considerably, and now I can say I came here for a reason.

Things I learned and how I improved:

I learned many knew words which now are added to my list of vocab, and my reading was the biggest improvement I had.

Things I found interesting and things I found boring or difficult:

Going over old comprehensions even though not the most interesting and the difference between my bias marking and actual marking.

A message for other kids at The Reading Language Gym:

Listen to the trainers * NB

Spud books – never ending laughter

and never give up

S:  Aged 16

Dear future learners,

My name is S and I have been at The Reading Language Gym for 6 months now, although it has felt like a few years. It’s all gone so fast and I’m going to miss the Speckled eggs, the comic strip laughs, and overall, all of you. You have taught me to have fun while I study, to slow down, think and then apply. I came here struggling with my grammar and needing to work on my comprehension as well as getting 50% for most of my tests. But (I) have successfully ticked that off my list of worries because for the past English exam I have come out with 60% for both comprehension and grammar.  My wise advice for all the ones starting out here, or carrying on with the English, I advise you to just breathe, take a deep meaningful breath and smile. Keep getting something wrong? Well I have another famous quote for you: you try, you fall, you try, you fall, but the real failure is when you stop trying. Keep going, keep trying and you will succeed.

E: Aged 12 Grade 6

How I felt when I first came to the Reading Gym

I felt a bit scared because I didn’t know what to expect.   I definitely felt very anxious.

Why I needed to train here:

I needed to improve my spelling and reading and just to become more confident at reading as well.  I was very shy in class about reading out loud because I wasn’t very good.  I was failing very badly because I didn’t know how to learn and I wasn’t good at learning spelling.  Once my teacher asked the class what everyone got for their test and I had a really bad mark.  I felt very embarrassed about my mark and having to say it aloud.  My friends said, “I’m sure you’ll do better next time!”  I didn’t really listen to them because I didn’t feel very clever.  At the reading gym they are always telling me that I’m clever and that I can do it and that if I’ve tried hard it doesn’t really matter about the marks.

What I learned:

I learned that I have to try as hard as I can and that is enough.  I mustn’t be hard on myself.  Loads of people learn differently.  The greatest people often have dyslexia and they think uniquely.

I learned that I’m fine.  Sometimes I feel that I’m not very bright when I’ve tried hard and I still didn’t get a very good mark.  I still need to work on loving myself for who I am.

I much better at reading now.  Reading used to feel like someone looking over me telling me I’m not good enough and I never will be. But now I feel a lot better, but I think I still need to work on it all on my own. That’s what I think will be the hardest thing I will have to achieve. One of the sayings on the wall in the waiting room says, the hardest thing for me about dyslexia is how to spell it.” (still don’t know if I’m spelling it right) I think it mite relate to me and maybe help me through some tough spots.

A message for other children who learn differently:

If you are feeling sad and you can’t do it just believe in yourself and you must talk to someone that you trust.  It doesn’t matter if you are angry or sad or whatever – just SPEAK.

C: Aged 12


My name is C.  I am 12 years. I go to X school and I am dyslexic. Now I do not think that my life is horrible, it is very fun. My parents are not together but that is Ok. We all have our problems, it is what we do with it that counts.

My strengths are that I love sport. I am very friendly (just ask anyone!)

What I learned at the reading gym was obviously spelling, reading and writing but what I really learned was it is ok to have problems. It is not the end of the world it is ok to be different.

I changed schools at the end of last year. I used to go to (name of school). Firstly I only found out that I was dyslexic in Grade 5 when I moved schools. I thought that everyone either was dyslexic or took medication every day (ADD). I feel that it is OK to take medication – as long as it is the right type! Now that I have moved, I have a facilitator which feels strange. The work pace is much faster and the work is much harder because I was at remedial school. But I am learning more everyday and each day I miss (name of school) a little less, especially my friends. Change is sometimes good!

My message to other gym kids is that it is OK to have problems, it is what you do with your problems that counts. Just remember some famous people like Bill Gates and Albert Einstein were dyslexic! Hopefully you and I will be one of them one day!

L:  Age 16, Grade 10.

How I felt when I first came to The Reading Language Gym:

When I first came to the Reading Gym I was sort of nervous and worried that I would not improve my marks in English. I had been going to extra remedial lessons since grade one at (name of school) and my English had not improved at all, so I did not know what to expect from the Reading Gym.

Why I needed to train:

I came to The Reading Gym to improve my English marks. When I first came here I was failing English with a low 40% over all. The Reading Gym helped me find out that the problem with my English is comprehensions, vocabulary and not reading for pleasure. I needed to learn comprehension skills and improve on my vocabulary as it also affected my marks in small ways in other subjects. I hated reading when I first started here, and that was a big problem because reading is a basic literature skill which I could not do properly.

I learned the comprehension skills I needed, and on how to improve my vocabulary. I also learned that the more I read, the more vocabulary comes up which helped a lot. My marks in English improved very quickly, which I did not expect, but it happened, now instead of worrying I’m going to fail English and maybe the year, I am happy to see that I can actually do well in English by getting 60% and I’m hoping to improve more.

A message for other children who train at The Reading Gym:

You shouldn’t be shy to come out with any problem in life and to get some help because you can improve even though you think you can’t.

Written work

Neale du Toit: Grade 12

Most children begin school when they’re 6 years old. Then they’re children who have the privilege to attend a pre-school. I am one of those children. I was privileged enough to attend a preschool and for this I am grateful. For if I hadn’t attended a preschool my parents would never have been made aware of the fact that I had severe coordination dysfunction and severe speech problems. Because my parents were aware of this, I attended a physio-therapist who helped with this problem for 13 years up until I was 14 years old.

Only one teacher was ever aware that I had this problem and this wasn’t because she was told it was because she also noticed my problems. She was my Grade R teacher, Mrs. Van der Horst. She was extremely supportive of my problems and gave me personal extra help in class. She gave me extra homework to help me keep up with the rate at which the rest of the class was moving. She is one of the main reasons why I am here today.

Many people think that being a preschool teacher is to be on a fun filled payed holiday where you get to see children grow up. This may all be true but what they don’t know is the extra work they put in after hours and the special attention they give each student. Teaching is said to be one of the hardest jobs to do and to have the lowest wages. This may be the case but I don’t think people become teachers for the money I think they teach because they love the way they feel after a day at work. If Mrs. Van der Horst hadn’t enjoyed her job and didn’t enjoy teaching I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today. School teachers are the ones who place the building blocks of life into your children’s minds further more they are being taken for granted. They play a major role in every single child’s life.

We need to come to the realization that our children are the future and for them to achieve success in the future we need dedicated and enthusiastic teachers. I believe that in order for our planet to achieve excellence on every level, we have to acknowledge the work our teachers are doing at school. The government and public need to recognize that without teachers, our planet would be a much different place. years old in Gr 8