Dyslexia Characteristics

  • 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 spell

    The reading/spelling characteristics are the result of difficulty with the following:
    • The development of phonological awareness, including segmenting, blending, and 
    manipulating 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 alphabet

    Secondary 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 activities

    • May talk later than most children
    • May have difficulty with rhyming
    • May have difficulty pronouncing words (i.e., busgetti for spaghetti, mawn lower for lawn 
    • 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 and 
    write his or her name

    Kindergarten through Third Grade
    • Fails to understand that words come apart; for example, that snowman can be pulled apart 
    into snow and man and, later on, that the word man can be broken down still further and 
    sounded 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 word

    Fourth 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 easier 
    to spell
    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.