This article appeared in the Mail & Guardian:
When there is a problem with this essential foundation skill, help is at hand.
When two Cape Town mothers, Kashiefa Gallie and Rebecca Felix, learned that their children had reading difficulties, they went into panic mode.
Although they came from different parts of the city, Lansdowne and Crawford respectively, they knew that reading was a critical skill for children to master at the foundation phase.
Gallie said she first noticed that her eight-year-old daughter Haaniem, in grade two at the time, had developed problems was soon after her father’s sudden death at the beginning of last year.
“She presented decreased motivation and drive, was always despondent and insecure, and required constant supervision to complete her school tasks,” Gallie said. “Due to her emotional state, her reading and learning ability regressed.”
A qualified occupational therapist, Gallie said she was at first in denial about her child’s challenges. She said she didn’t know how she was going to help her child when her emotions were involved.
Felix also experienced similar emotions when she noticed that nine-year-old daughter Emily-Jane, also in grade two, had difficulties with reading and reversed numbers and letters. She said the realisation was sobering and she sprang into action. “I was motivated to get as much help for her as she needed.”
The two mothers embarked on separate and lonely journeys in search of a facility that could address the underlying causes of their children’s poor reading skills. Their search pointed them to Edublox, a reading and learning clinic based in the city.
Zainu Allie, a master tutor who has been with the facility for the past six years, assured them they had come to the right place.
The clinic has 30 years of practical experience in teaching reading and 50 years of intensive research in this field.
One up on its competitors
Allie said Edublox differed from its competitors in that it tackled the causes of underlying cognitive skills that impaired a child’s reading ability. “We focus on the child’s cognitive skills development to see how the brain functions, particularly with regard to concentration, perception, memory and how to process information.”
When a child is enrolled, the clinic conducts a thorough assessment to determine which ability he or she lacks. Once established, the child is put through a series of co-ordinated classroom activities, such as sequencing, colour identification, listening, memorisation, and processing and recalling information.
“If a child has any of these weaknesses, he or she would find it extremely difficult to cope with schooling, which is why it is important to address the problems early,” said Allie.
Four months after enrolling Haaniem and Emily-Jane at Edublox, Gallie and Felix are excited about the outcome.
“Haaniem has demonstrated remarkable improvements. She is once again able to work independently. Her teachers have noticed the difference. Seeing the progress in such a short span of time is significant,” said Gallie.
Felix said: “The experience to date with Edublox has been very pleasant. Emily-Jane enrolled for about four months and I could see the improvement in her reading and concentration. She is more willing to do homework now.
“My daughter is definitely more confident with her reading and writing and will ask me if she can read books to me, which was not happening a while ago.”
For more information on Edublox, visit their website. Below is an example of an enrolled child’s marked improvements over an eight-month period.
An example of an enrolled child’s marked improvements over an eight-month period.