Introduction and Definition
The student who struggles with reading and spelling often puzzles teachers and parents. The student displays average ability to learn in the absence of print and receives the same classroom instruction that benefits most children; however, the student continues to struggle with some or all of the many facets of reading and spelling. This student may be a student with dyslexia.
The current definition from the International Dyslexia Association states:
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 knowledge (Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, November 12, 2002).
Common Signs of Dyslexia
The following signs may be associated with dyslexia if they are unexpected for the individual’s age, educational level, or cognitive abilities.
· May talk later than most children;
· May have difficulty with rhyming;
· May have difficulty pronouncing words;
· 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/her name.
Kindergarten through 3rd grade:
· Fails to understand that words come apart;
· Has difficulty learning the letter names and their corresponding sounds;
· Has difficulty decoding single words;
· Has difficulty spelling phonetically;
· Reads dysfluently;
· Relies on context to recognize a word.
4th grade through high school:
· Has a history of reading and spelling difficulties;
· Avoids reading aloud;
· Reads most materials slowly; oral reading 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.
Taken from: The Dyslexia Handbook – Revised 2007: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders, Texas Education Agency, February 2007.