Signs of Dyslexia at Different Ages

Stressed college student for exam in classroom

Parents of struggling readers often ask whether their child could have Dyslexia. has an excellent article that lists challenges to look for at different ages and stages of development:

They recommend that you take notes and collect work samples when you observe your child struggling with the following:

Signs of Dyslexia in Preschool

  • Mispronounces words, like saying “beddy tear” instead of “teddy bear”
  • Struggles to name familiar objects and uses general words like thing and stuff instead
  • Has a hard time learning nursery rhymes or song lyrics that rhyme
  • Has trouble remembering sequences, like singing the letters of the alphabet
  • Tells stories that are hard to follow; has trouble talking about an event in a logical order
  • Has difficulty remembering and following directions with multiple steps

Signs of Dyslexia in Grades K–2

  • Has trouble learning letter names and remembering the sounds they make
  • Often confuses letters that look similar (b, d, p, q) and letters with similar sounds (d/t; b/p; f/v)
  • Struggles to read familiar words (like cat or the), especially if there aren’t pictures
  • Substitutes words when reading aloud, like saying house when the story says home
  • Has trouble hearing the individual sounds in words and blending sounds to make a word
  • Has trouble remembering how words are spelled and applying spelling rules in writing

Signs of Dyslexia in Grades 3–5

  • Confuses or skips small words like for and of when reading aloud
  • Has trouble sounding out new words and quickly recognizing common ones
  • Struggles to explain what happened in a story or answer questions about key details
  • Frequently makes the same kinds of mistakes, like reversing letters
  • Has poor spelling; may spell the same word correctly and incorrectly in the same exercise
  • Avoids reading whenever possible or gets frustrated or upset when reading

Once you record your observations, you can contact your child’s teacher or pediatrician. The teacher will notify the IEP Team specialists in the school.  

The following professionals outside of the school arena can also provide assistance if the school cannot meet your child’s needs. Your pediatrician may be able to refer you.

  • Developmental/Behavioral Pediatrician (private evaluation)
  • Licensed Educational Psychologist (private or school evaluation)
  • Clinical Psychologist (private evaluation)
  • Neuropsychologist (private evaluation for brain processing and functioning testing)

Signs of Dyslexia in Teens and Tweens

  • Reads slowly, leaving out small words and parts of longer words when reading aloud
  • Struggles to remember common abbreviations, including ones on social media
  • Often seems to be searching for words; may use substitutes like 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
  • Takes a very long time to complete reading assignments

For more information, please see the article.  I can refer you to professionals who can assess your child for reading challenges. LearnMindfully provides reading interventions and will gladly refer to other interventionists.


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