Signs to Watch For if You are Concerned about Dyslexia

Concerned about dyslexia? Here we outline the early signs of dyslexia for children in preK, kindergarten, first grade, second grade and above.

Hey there,

Whether you are a parent or a teacher, we are so glad that you are here. We know that when a child struggles to read and spell, without the correct information it can be hard to differentiate whether they are just learning more slowly than their peers, or if there is an underlying learning disability, such as dyslexia. We are here to help you navigate that process and offer support for you moving forward.

According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, indicators of dyslexia can be noticed early on, before school-age. It's important to catch these signs early because early identification and intervention can be key to preventing several difficulties children who struggle with dyslexia may encounter.

Early Signs of Dyslexia - Preschool

  • Trouble learning common nursery rhymes, such as “Jack and Jill”

  • Difficulty learning (and remembering) the names of letters in the alphabet

  • Seems to be unable to recognize letters in his/her own name

  • Mispronounces familiar words; persistent “baby talk”

  • Doesn't recognize rhyming patterns like cat, bat, rat

  • A family history of reading and/or spelling difficulties

Signs of Dyslexia in Kindergarten and 1st Grade

Kids in school learn symbol/sound correlation (e.g., what does B say?), they learn to decode (sound out) words, remember sight words, and spell words. If your child is struggling, indicators of dyslexia are:

  • Reading errors that show no connection to the sounds of the letters on the page. Your child may say “puppy” instead of the written word “dog” on an illustrated page with a dog shown.

  • A lack of understanding that words come apart

  • Complains about how hard reading is or “disappearing” when it is time to read

  • A history of reading problems in parents or siblings

  • Difficulty sounding out even simple words like cat, map, nap

  • Does not associate letters with sounds, such as the letter b with the /b/ sound

Signs of Dyslexia in 2nd Grade and Above

When kids reach second grade and above, the reading and spelling struggles begin to appear more obviously. There is a larger gap between their cognitive capabilities and their academic performance. People with dyslexia tend to have an average or above average IQ, so many learn to compensate on their own and therefore “fly under the radar” in the classroom. Kids may struggle with basic reading concepts along with some noticeable speech issues. Some indicators to watch for are:

  • Slow in acquiring reading skills. Reading is slow, awkward, and laborious

  • Trouble reading unfamiliar words, often making wild guesses because he/she cannot sound out the word

  • Lack of a strategy for reading new words

  • Avoidance of reading out loud

  • Searching for a specific word and ends up using vague language, such as “stuff” or “thing” a lot, without naming the object?

  • Pauses, hesitates, and/or uses lots of “umm’s” when speaking

  • Confuses words that sound alike, such as saying “tornado” for “volcano,” substituting “lotion” for “ocean”

  • Mispronunciation of long, unfamiliar, or complicated words

  • Seems to need extra time to respond to questions.

To help you navigate this process, we have created a checklist of symptoms for you. This checklist highlights hallmarks or traits to look for in the classroom as well as specifics to look for in writing samples. This can’t diagnose Dyslexia, but it can show you what to look for. To download the checklist, >>click here.<<

If you are noticing ANY of the signs mentioned above & in the checklist, we strongly recommend seeking out an evaluation. For more information about different kinds of evaluations and the benefits they offer, click here.

We know that Dyslexia can be an intimidating word, but we want you to know that the dyslexic brain is an amazing thing! To hear an honest and raw story of what it is like to be a student with dyslexia, check out “My Name is Mackenzie and I am Dyslexic” written by one of our students, an incredible young lady named Mackenzie. In it, she outlines her journey, from feelings of frustration at school, her evaluation experience, learning she is dyslexic and her journey forward.

We hope that in finding this information, it is bringing you answers. If you are working with a struggling student and want more information on how we have been able to get thousands of struggling readers onto grade level, join us for our free, online training “7 Steps to Reading Intervention that Works.” >>Click here to join.<<