What IS Dyslexia?

Dyslexia literally means:  

Dys = difficulty with 

lexia = language

Dyslexia = difficulty with language


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Difficulty in terms of breaking language into parts, but not in terms of vocabulary. Often, students with dyslexia have great skill with vocabulary!

Because dyslexia is language based, it can be assessed BEFORE a student starts learning to read or write. People are often astonished to hear it can and should be screened for, as early or even earlier than Kindergarten.

Students with dyslexia are often VERY bright!

This can be confusing for both teachers AND parents!

Then they think, give it more time, she will learn to read, she's so SMART!

This is a myth.

She needs DIFFERENT reading instruction if it's dyslexia.


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Assess for dyslexia EARLY.

MOST TEACHERS are not trained in dyslexia.

AND, if they know about dyslexia, they have legally been trained to NOT use that term.

Get knowledgeable about it, be your kids best advocate.

Learn your rights.

Get your kid assessed!


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Here are some things I've heard parents say:

"But my kid is so bright, he can't be dyslexic!"

"Wouldn't the teacher tell me if she was dyslexic?"

"But he can read!"

"She gets a headache when reading."

"Why can't things just be easy for him to learn?"

"I'm tired of the tears over getting her to school."

"His spelling is...not good."

"He can read, he's just reads slowly."

"When she writes her hand hurts."

"He complains of stomach aches before school."

"My older kids liked school, she hates it!"

"I can't read his handwriting."

"Homework is impossible."

"Why can't things just be easier?"

"She is always daydreaming."


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There are many assessments that can be given, without reading and writing, all dealing with oral language that can assess whether dyslexia is present.

When screening for dyslexia, I always, ALWAYS want people to consider STRENGTHS first.

Here is a list of strengths that someone with dyslexia may possess:
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Areas of Strength:

  • Imagination

  • Art

  • Drama

  • Creativity

  • Music

  • Sports

  • Story-telling

  • Building

  • Puzzles

  • People Skills

  • Intuition

Common Signs of Dyslexia:

  • Genetic Link (someone in the family tree who has had trouble with reading/writing)

  • Poor Fine Motor Skills, Especially with Writing

  • Delay in Speaking

  • Difficulty with Pronunciation (aminal for animal, bascetti for spaghetti)

  • Difficulty with Rhyming

  • Incorrect Word Use (volcano for tornado)

  • Unable to Find a Word (Umm, Umm, Umm…)

  • Difficulty Learning Letter Names

  • Difficulty Learning Letter Sounds

  • Trouble with r’s, l’s, m’s, and n’s

  • Early Stuttering

  • Left/Right Confusion

  • Late Establishing a Preferred Hand

  • Lots of Ear Infections

  • Monotone, Slow, Choppy Reading

  • Trouble Sounding Out Words

  • Loses Place, or Skips Text

  • Misreads Words

  • Reads by Shape

  • High Listening Comprehension

  • Low Reading Comprehension

  • Substitutes Similar Looking Words (sunrise for surprise)

  • Changes Adds, or Omits Suffixes ie: run – running

  • Trouble with Spelling

  • Vowel Confusion

  • Avoids Writing

  • Difficulty with Rote Memory


  • Difficulty with Sequences

  • Letter or Number Reversals After First Grade

  • Poor Written Expression Compared to Verbal Skills

*If you have 5 or more warning signs, further evaluation is recommended. Remember that Dyslexia, like most other conditions, happens along a continuum.


Students with mild cases, may not have as many warning signs, but would benefit greatly from targeted instruction. Knowledge is power.


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