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What are the signs of dyslexia?

Common signs: For pre-schoolers


  • May have a speech delay or be late in learning to talk

  • May have difficulty pronouncing words, i.e., pusgetti for spaghetti, aminal for animal

  • May have trouble learning vocabulary words

  • May be unable to recall the right word

  • May have difficulty with rhyming

  • May have trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, colors, shapes, how to spell and write his or her name

  • May have trouble interacting with peers

  • May be unable to follow multi-step directions or routines

  • Fine motor skills may develop more slowly than in other children

  • May have difficulty telling and/or retelling a story in the correct sequence


Common signs: Kindergarten through fourth grade


  • Has difficulty decoding single words (reading single words in isolation)

  • May be slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds

  • May confuse small words – at/to, said/and, does/goes

  • Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including:

    • Letter reversals – d for b as in, dog for bog

    • Word reversals – tip for pit

    • Inversions – m and w, u and n

    • Transpositions – felt and left

    • Substitutions – house and home

  • May transpose number sequences and confuse arithmetic signs (+ - x / =)

  • May have trouble remembering facts

  • May be slow to learn new skills; relies heavily on memorizing without understanding

  • May be impulsive and prone to accidents

  • May have difficulty planning and organizing thoughts, actions

  • Often uses an awkward pencil grip (fist, thumb hooked over fingers, etc.)

  • May have trouble learning to tell time & reading an analog clock

  • May have poor fine motor coordination such as tying their shoes


Difficulty with reading:


  • Difficulty learning to read

  • Difficulty identifying or generating rhyming words or counting syllables in words (Phonological Awareness)

  • Difficulty with hearing and manipulating sounds in words (Phonemic Awareness)

  • Difficulty distinguishing different sounds in words (Auditory Discrimination)

  • Difficulty in learning the sounds of letters

  • Difficulty remembering names and/or the order of letters when reading

  • Reverses letters or the order of letters when reading

  • Misreads or omits common little words

  • "Stumbles" through longer words

  • Poor reading comprehension during oral or silent reading



Written language


  • Difficulty putting ideas on paper

  • Many spelling mistakes

  • May do well on weekly spelling tests, but there are many spelling mistakes in daily work

  • Difficulty in proofreading


Oral language


  • Late in learning to talk

  • Difficulty pronouncing words

  • Difficulty acquiring vocabulary or using age appropriate grammar

  • Difficulty following directions

  • Confusion with before/after, right/left, and so on

  • Difficulty learning the alphabet, nursery rhymes, or songs

  • Difficulty understanding concepts and relationships


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