Recognising the uniqueness in each child, and acknowledging the challenges they face, The Workshop Reading Centre is focused on supplying the skills to maximise personal and academic potential.


The Workshop Reading Centre is dedicated to assisting children with reading difficulties.

A psychometric evaluation assesses problem areas, reading level, and the most appropriate course of remediation for your child.

Our professional and caring team aim to rapidly close the gap between your child’s potential and his performance, with a strong emphasis on developing a postive outlook toward reading and boosting confidence.

Our reading centre is conveniently located in Pineslopes, Johannesburg.

Our reading obsession

Reading is a complex skill to master.

As formal schooling begins, children learn the ‘code of reading’ – that sounds are represented by letters, and these can be manipulated to form words and sentences which hold meaning. This is an essential skill, and should become automatic as the child becomes a proficient reader.

Brain scanning research has allowed us to see that various areas of the brain are accessed simultaneously for effective reading. Where this does not happen, a reading difficulty occurs and reading problems can become learning problems.

A child should improve 12 months in reading skill for every passing year. If they have a slower rate of acquiring this skill, the gap keeps widening between where they are and where they should be, falling further and further behind. This is the challenge in remediating – closing the gap as quickly as possible.

Our Services


A full reading assessment is conducted based on the child’s age. We measure reading vocabulary, comprehension on both silent and out loud reading, decoding ability, reading speed and reading accuracy. Our tests incorporate both single word reading and passage reading. A comprehensive report is issued to parents and recommendations for improving skill.

We also conduct the Fawcett and Nicholson Dyslexia Screening test.

Cellfield Reading Treatment

We are proud to offer the revolutionary Cellfield reading programme. Click here for the dedicated Cellfield page.

Remedial Reading

At The Workshop Reading Centre, we offer one-on-one remedial reading.

Following a psychometric assessment to isolate the specific areas of difficulty, sessions are structured to address the need specific to each child.

Sessions are typically 45 minutes, once or twice a week. For younger children, the focus is on solidifying foundation phonological skills and developing fluency.

For older children, we address comprehension skills, which are vital, not only in English, but a skill that is necessary in all testing and exam situations.

Material that challenges and develops confidence and self esteem, improving attitudes toward reading are a vital part of our remediation.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy services for children from birth – 18 years. A comprehensive assessment is conducted of speech and language difficulties and delays, fluency disorders, and voice disorders. Speech intervention is individualised based on assessment results.


The groups are kept small, with a maximum of eight to ten children, to ensure even the shyest child is engaged and participating. We can arrange workshops at your school, at our centre or another venue, provided there is a group of at least five children.

Grade 5 Creative Writing

Grade 5 Comprehension

Grade 5 Poetry

Grade 6 & 7 Creative Writing

Grade 6 & 7 Comprehension

Grade 6 & 7 Poetry

Grade 11 Poetry

Additional Workshops:

Accredited for Professional Development for teachers and specialists.


Teaching Inferential Skills.

The Reading Process


Experiencing the Child with Learning Difficulties

Reading with the Older Child

Consulting for Parents

 For parents who wish to directly assist at home, we offer hourly sessions of instruction on how to (age appropriately) read with your child, discuss material and develop reading skills. These consultations can also be arranged for your child’s au pair.


The Cellfield programme specialises in testing and treatment for reading disorders.

What is so different about the Cellfield?

Cellfield targets a learning disability that applies specifically to reading.

Advanced brain scanning has shown that reading disabilities have causes that include not only the auditory/language processing areas of the brain, but also the visual processing areas, in particular, the bridging areas in between.

Cellfield is an effective treatment, because it targets the ability to learn how to read. Those who had undertaken the Cellfield treatment, usually experience a ‘step-increase’ in their reading skills and continue to improve faster than what they could before the Cellfield treatment. Scientific evaluations have shown improvements of up to 12 months in Comprehension skills, and 23 months in decoding ability in the 2 week treatment.

How does Cellfield achieve this?

Children with reading disabilities have a rate of reading improvement that is persistently below their cognitive abilities. This is because they have problems ‘processing’ the visual symbols of our language into their corresponding sounds and then into meaning. Brain scanning research shows that these processing problems are in three broad areas; the auditory, visual, and visual-to-auditory. These problems set limits to the rate at which reading can be learned, and the ultimate level which can be reached.

Most treatment providers target only the auditory and some target just the visual. Seldom do they target both. None so far target the auditory to visual bridging area. Cellfield is unique in targeting all three simultaneously by using computer science. This is why such step improvements can be achieved in just two weeks and reading continues to improve and at a faster rate.

How does the Cellfield treatment make changes to processing?

The Cellfield treatment uses a computer workstation that presents a patented motion graphics design that is always moving over words and sentences that are presented on screen. This is designed to stimulate the transient vision centers in a systematic way, at all times, wherever the eyes look on screen.

The graphics are transparent for half the treatment session and opaque for the other half. When opaque, the graphics assume the additional function by becoming a moving mask, forcing the brain to read incomplete text in between the graphic ‘gaps’, by having to fill in the “missing bits” and to keep the whole sentence clearly in mind.

A major portion of each treatment session targets phonological awareness. There are ‘rhyme’ exercises with electronically stretched target words that allow children with reading disabilities to hear the essential differences between some sounds for the first time. There are also are demanding decoding and encoding exercises that force greater auditory and visual ‘visualisation’.

The Cellfield treatment consists of ten treatment sessions of one hour duration, usually conducted over about two weeks. These progressively become more difficult but are designed so that with concentration and effort, final scores can increase with each session. Operating in the ‘difficult but achievable’ band, assisted by the trained clinicians, and providing a scoring system, motivates children to gain more from the Cellfield treatment.

See more information on the Cellfield website.

Contact us for more information or to discuss your child’s needs.


“Listening is the first thing children learn but it is the last thing

taught, if at all. We emphasize reading and speaking in our

schools, but listening skills traditionally have not been taught at

all. That is changing some what because people are beginning to

realize the importance of good listening skills.”

What are good listening skills?

Good listening skills are important in effective communication,

and understanding. A good listener doesn’t just hear words but

actively engages with the speaker. They do not interrupt, which

allows the speaker time to articulate thoughts and feelings. Good listeners aim to understand not only the words spoken but also the emotions underlying them.

Good listening skills include:

– Maintaining eye contact

– Giving full attention to the speaker

– Facing the speaker

– Waiting for their turn to speak

– Knowing not to interrupt

– Asking questions and seeking clarification (this encourages critical

thinking and deeper understanding)

How does this aid reading and writing development?

When children actively listen to stories or instructions, they

absorb vocabulary, sentence structures, and narrative patterns,

which enriches their own writing. Children grasp the subtleties

of language, such as tone, mood, and figurative language, which

they can then incorporate into their own writing to make it more

engaging and expressive. Additionally, by listening carefully to

others’ perspectives and ideas, children gain a deeper

understanding of various topics and viewpoints, which can

inform their writing and help them craft more well-rounded

arguments or narratives. Moreover, when children listen actively

and ask questions for clarification, they strengthen their

comprehension skills, which in turn enhances their ability to

interpret and analyse texts when reading.

Overall, good listening skills provide a strong foundation for the

development of proficient reading and writing skills by fostering language acquisition, comprehension, and critical thinking


How to foster good listeners?

– Lead by example

– Create opportunities for communication

– Set clear expectations of how to be a good listener

– Practice active listening

– Giving instructions at home

– Reflecting on emotions: discuss your child’s feelings if they are having

a bad day or if something exciting has happened

– Ask questions to clarify what was said

– Engage in turn taking activities: such a Storytelling Hot Potato where

people take turns to add a sentence to create a story based on what the

last person has said

– Use visual cues if necessary: these include pictures, written

instructions or gestures

– Provide feedback and praise

– Limit distractions in their environment

– Be patient and supportive

How to create engaged listeners in reading

– Read aloud bedtime story or homework books with your child

– Read and discuss the characters and plot of the story, as well

as asking your child what they “think” a story might be about

before reading, or what might happen next

– Ask open ended questions and encourage your child to discuss

more than simple answers

– Active listening games

Storytelling Hot Potato

Simon Says with reading instructions e.g.“find a red book” or “find a word that starts with /b/

– Make reading enjoyable

In order to be a proficient reader, a creative writer and a critical

thinker, children need to engage in the world with good listening

skills. This allows their brains to absorb information more than just existing in the world.

Nurturing Connection: Engaging in Heartfelt Conversations with Your Child on Time to Talk Day 

Time to Talk Day 1 February 2024

Time to Talk Day serves as a special occasion to initiate meaningful conversations about mental well-being, and what better way to celebrate than by engaging with your child? It’s not just about talking at them; it’s about creating opportunities for genuine dialogue, fostering connections, and dismantling any stigma associated with discussing mental health from a young age.

The Impact of Conversations on Your Child’s Well-being: Engaging in conversations with your child is a powerful way to build a supportive foundation. By creating an environment where your child feels comfortable expressing themselves, you provide an essential outlet for their emotions. These open discussions help in breaking down any societal stigmas early on, fostering a sense of belonging, and reducing any potential feelings of isolation. By actively listening and encouraging your child to share their thoughts, you contribute to building a strong support system within your family.

Ways to Encourage Conversations on Talk Day:

  1. Start a conversation: Initiate discussions with your child by asking open-ended questions. Show genuine interest in their thoughts and feelings.
  2. Share your experiences: Open up about your own experiences with emotions and mental well-being. This can create a safe space for your child to do the same.
  3. Explore Together: Take the opportunity to explore resources on the Time to Talk website designed to facilitate conversations with children. Time to Talk Day Website
  4. Share moments on social media using #TimeToTalk

This Talk Day, we encourage you to actively engage with your child, creating an atmosphere where they feel heard and understood. It’s about more than just talking; it’s about fostering a two-way dialogue. If you’re unsure about where to start, a simple ‘how are you feeling?’ can be a powerful way to open the door to deeper conversations. We hope you have a wonderful Time to Talk Day, and we look forward to hearing about your experiences. Let us know by commenting below, sending us a message, or sharing our post!

-Demi Olivier

Time for lift off into 2024

The beginning of the school year can be an exciting but daunting experience, especially for those starting a new school. Even more so, for those who have difficulty in communicating and interacting with other children.  

School can be hard so keep in mind your child’s well-being and allow them to discuss their feelings, help them to label their emotions and ensure they feel reassured and supported. 

Here are some tips and tricks to build on important areas of development and skills needed to succeed at school. 

Play simple games such as Simon Says, sound recognition games (e.g. I Spy) can aid development of attention, listening skills and phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate individual sounds in words. All of these skills are vital in learning to read and write which is one of the more important skills learnt in the early school years. 

Other ways to develop phonological awareness is to clap syllables in words, singing nursery rhymes

and sounding out new words. When sounding out words it is vital to use the letter sounds (e.g. a for apple), instead of the letter name (e.g. a in ape). Pre-literacy skills can be encouraged before even going to school by reading bed time stories with your children, letting them turn the page and talkingabout characters or what’s happened in the book. Talking about what they think will happen before reading the book encourages imaginative thinking. This is a fun bonding activity that you can do, no matter what age your child is!

Children are required to sit and listen, and to follow instructions for longer periods of time. You can help your child to focus on listening by calling their name to get their attention and getting down to their level when giving them instructions. It can also be helpful to give your child rules for good listening, such as staying quiet when someone is talking to you, looking at the person talking and listening to all the words. Social skills are vital in making friends and developing connections. Set up play dates with other children, engage in turn taking games and board games with your child or cooperative tasks such as baking a cake.

Your child needs your support in order to feel nurtured and allow them to grow and learn to their best ability! We are here to help along the way.

If you notice your child is having difficulty with communicating their feelings, needs and wants, as well as speech and language difficulties or preliteracy, reading and writing skills are difficult, please get in touch with us!

We have the following services on offer:

  • Remedial reading: assessment and intervention on solidifying foundational reading skills and fluency, as well as comprehension skills and developing confidence in reading and writing
  • Speech Therapy: assessment and intervention for speech, language, fluency and voice difficulties.
  • Cellfield Reading Program: focusing specifically on the treatment of reading disorders
  • Counselling: supporting individuals of all ages on their journey to well-being and personal development. 

Contact us today to book an assessment or to discuss your child’s needs.

-Caitlin Sassen

Caitlin Sassen Speech Therapy

I often get asked what exactly is it that I do?

So, I thought I’d give a bit of background as to everything a speech therapist does. Firstly, I assess, treat and advocate for speech, language, communication, literacy and swallowing difficulties. Some examples include:Speech production (articulation, phonology) and understanding (auditory processing). Language production (using correct tenses, prefixes and suffixes, functional use of language) and understanding (following instructions, understanding vocab and questions). I also focus on other aspects of communication such as AAC (alternative and augmented communication), if speech production is not an option for a client. I work with clients who stutter or have other fluency disorders. I work with clients who have voice disorders such as hyponasality (“blocked nose” speech), vocal cord paralysis (causing no voice production). I love working on literacy goals with my clients, which include phonological awareness, expanding their vocab repertoire, phoneme-grapheme correspondence (sound-letter association), improving decoding of words and increasing reading fluency. Another aspect of speech therapy that is unknown to the general public, is our role in feeding and swallowing. We are vital in making sure a client is able to safely swallow as well as have the ability to take in enough nutrition to meet their needs (working closely with a dietitian). So basically, we are all heroes across a wide variety of tasks and skills. Our main goal is to assist our clients in being able to function as independently as possible in the real world. We do this by providing them with the foundations for skills or compensatory strategies in order to achieve a goal.

So do I need to consult a speech therapist?If you are worried about how your child is developing, or you are comparing them to peers or siblings, contact us to book an assessment. It is important to provide intervention as early as possible so that the foundations can be set for other skills to build on top of. You can contact me via email (caitlin@the-workshop.co.za) or via Whatsapp (0795172478). You can also book a FREE initial consultation call to find out how best we can help your little one. You can book this at http://caitlin-sassen-speech-therapy.bookem.com.  Keep an eye opening for future posts about more fun speech therapy activities and work that is changing the way we approach therapy.  

Chat soon,

CYPRUS MAIL article 6 March 2023

Empower Your Child’s Journey: With Our Special Wellness Counselling Services

Is your child or teenager facing challenges that seem impossible?  At The Workshop Reading Centre, Demi Olivier offers special wellness counselling services specializing in empowering young individuals to navigate life’s complexities with confidence, resilience, and joy.  Child and Teen Counselling: Growing up comes with its own set of hurdles, from navigating family changes to coping with …

How to Foster Listening to Develop Reading and Writing Skills

“Listening is the first thing children learn but it is the last thing taught, if at all. We emphasize reading and speaking in our schools, but listening skills traditionally have not been taught at all. That is changing some what because people are beginning to realize the importance of good listening skills.” What are good …