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Signs of Dyslexia in Preschool

  • Often mispronounces words, like saying “beddy tear” instead of “teddy bear.”

  • Was considered by his doctor to be a “late talker” (saying very few words by his second birthday) and has trouble saying words accurately (using “baby talk”).

  • Often has trouble naming familiar objects, saying general words like thing and stuff instead of the names of objects.

  • Has trouble learning a new word, even after you’ve tried to teach it many times.

  • Has trouble learning nursery rhymes or song lyrics that rhyme, and has difficulty recognizing and producing rhymes.

  • Has trouble remembering sequences, such as singing the letters of the alphabet or saying the days of the week in the right order.

  • Often tells stories that are hard to follow; has trouble talking about an event in a logical order.

  • Has trouble remembering and following directions with multiple steps.

  • Can’t point out his own name and has trouble writing it.

Signs of Dyslexia in Grades K–2

  • Has difficulty learning letter names and remembering the sounds they make.

  • Confuses letters that look similar (b, d, p, q) and letters that have similar sounds (d/t; b/p; f/v).

  • Struggles to read familiar words (like cat or the), especially when there are no pictures or other context clues; often skips over or confuses small words like to and as when reading aloud.

  • Often substitutes words when reading aloud, like saying the word house when the story uses the word home.

  • Doesn’t seem to know how to approach unfamiliar words, such as focusing on the sound of the first letter or looking at the vowels for clues to pronunciation.

  • Has trouble with the vowels in words, such as knowing how vowels combine in words and that they have different sounds depending on how they’re combined.

  • Has trouble hearing the individual sounds in words and/or blending sounds to make a word.

  • Has trouble remembering how words are spelled and applying spelling rules in writing.

  • Omits the end of a word when reading and writing (for example, leaving off the s in cats or the ed in jumped).

  • Has trouble quickly coming up with a list of words (for example, if asked to say the names of 10 colors or 10 fruits) or retrieving the name of something.

Signs of Dyslexia in Grades 3–5

  • Often confuses or omits small words like for and of when reading aloud.

  • Frequently identifies a word incorrectly, even after having just read the same word correctly earlier in the same text.

  • Has trouble sounding out new words; if a long word comes up when reading, often omits part of it or skips over it.

  • Often can’t recognize common words (sight words) at a glance, such as where and there, and tries to sound them out.

  • Often has trouble explaining what happened in a story or answering questions about key details.

  • Has an easier time answering questions about a text if you read it aloud to him.

  • Frequently makes the same kinds of mistakes, such as reversing letters (writing bots instead of dots) or mixing up the order of letters (writing stop instead of spot).

  • Has trouble with spelling, such as quickly forgetting how to spell many of the words he studies or spelling the same word correctly and incorrectly in the same exercise.

  • Avoids reading whenever possible or gets frustrated or agitated when reading.

  • Takes a very long time to complete reading assignments.

  • Seems to read at a lower academic level than the one at which he speaks; may have a smaller vocabulary than other kids his age because he doesn’t like to read.

Signs of Dyslexia in Teens and Tweens

  • Often reads slowly, omitting small words and leaving out parts of longer words when reading aloud.

  • Makes lots of spelling errors, sometimes misspelling words in ways that a computer spell-checker doesn’t know how to correct.

  • Often struggles to remember common abbreviations, including ones that are used on social media, such as idkand cul8ter.

  • Has trouble expressing ideas in an organized way or supporting an argument when doing writing assignments.

  • Often seems to be searching for the words he wants to say and ends up using words like stuff or thing rather than a more specific phrase; or substitutes related words, like using the word gate instead of fence.

  • Often doesn’t “get” the joke; has trouble understanding idioms and puns.

  • Has an easier time answering questions about a page of text if it’s read aloud to him.

  • Avoids reading whenever possible or gets frustrated or agitated when reading.

  • Takes a very long time to complete reading assignments.

  • Seems to read at a lower academic level than the one at which he speaks. 

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