Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is
characterized by difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition and by
poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit
in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to
other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.
Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and
reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background
National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (2002)
The following are the primary reading/spelling characteristics of dyslexia:• Difficulty reading real words in isolation• Difficulty accurately decoding nonsense words• Slow, inaccurate, or labored oral reading (lack of reading fluency)• Difficulty with learning to spellThe reading/spelling characteristics are the result of difficulty with the following:• The development of phonological awareness, including segmenting, blending, andmanipulating sounds in words• Learning the names of letters and their associated sounds• Phonological memory (holding information about sounds and words in memory)• Rapid naming of familiar objects, colors, or letters of the alphabetSecondary consequences of dyslexia may include the following:• Variable difficulty with aspects of reading comprehension• Variable difficulty with aspects of written composition• A limited amount of time spent in reading activitiesPre-school• May talk later than most children• May have difficulty with rhyming• May have difficulty pronouncing words (i.e., busgetti for spaghetti, mawn lower for lawnmower)• May have poor auditory memory for nursery rhymes and chants• May be slow to add new vocabulary words• May be unable to recall the right word• May have trouble learning numbers, days of the week, colors, shapes, and how to spell andwrite his or her nameKindergarten through Third Grade• Fails to understand that words come apart; for example, that snowman can be pulled apartinto snow and man and, later on, that the word man can be broken down still further andsounded out as /m/ /?/ /n/• Has difficulty learning the letter names and their corresponding sounds• Has difficulty decoding single words (reading single wordsin isolation)—lacks a strategy• Has difficulty spelling phonetically• Reads dysfluently (choppy and labored)• Relies on context to recognize a wordFourth Grade through High School• Has a history of reading and spelling difficulties• Avoids reading aloud• Reads most materials slowly; oralreading is labored, not fluent• Avoids reading for pleasure• May have an inadequate vocabulary• Has difficulty spelling; may resort to using less complicated words in writing that are easierto spellResources:Common Signs, (n.d.). Retrieved September 2, 2013, from The International Dyslexia Association Web site.Shaywitz, S. (2003). Overcoming dyslexia: A new and complete science-based program for reading problems at any level. New York: Alfred A Knopf.