Signs of Reading Disability Across Grades

Reading Disability (also known as “Dyslexia”) is a disorder of phonology at its base.  It affects reading, writing, and sometimes other skills such as memorization of math facts and language expression.  We know that Reading Disability is persistent but also highly responsive to the right interventions.  Taken in part from the book Overcoming Dyslexia, written by Sally Shaywitz, M.D., I have put together the following list of common signs across grade levels that a child may be struggling with reading.  The presence of one, or even many of these clues, does not by itself warrant alarm of a problem.  However, if you suspect your child is struggling with reading, please seek an evaluation to determine the nature of the difficulties and to make sure that your child is given a fair chance in reading.

Clues Your Child May Be Struggling With Reading by Grade Level:

Kindergarten-1st Grade:

  • Problems learning the alphabet and its associated sounds despite repeated practice
  • Language delay, particularly with articulation
  • Problems rhyming
  • Consistent word finding trouble

2nd– 3rd Grade:

  • Reading errors reflecting a lack of awareness of the relationship between sounds and letters
  • Problems decoding unfamiliar words
  • Reading is not progressing as expected in rate or smoothness
  • Consistent spelling errors, particularly whole sound deletions
  • No interest in reading on their own

4th-5th Grade:

  • Lack of expected progress despite tutoring or extra help (accuracy may have improved but fluency still lags behind).
  • Trouble learning foreign languages
  • Fear of reading out loud in class
  • Assistance with homework is needed, mainly for reading

6th– 8th Grade:

  • Extremely slow reading speed
  • Easily distracted when reading
  • Dysfluency in reading (choppy, hesitant, numerous errors)
  • Dislike for reading and does not read for pleasure
  • Homework takes an excessively longer than expected time to complete
  • Persistent problems with spelling, particularly whole omissions of sounds or sounds out of order

If you suspect your child is struggling with reading, click here for more information on our Orton-Gillingham Reading Program.

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