Common Warning Signs of Dyslexia in Children Pre-K to Grade 2

Are you concerned that your young child may not be learning, communicating or relating socially as well as other children of the same age? Dyslexia is a language-based processing disorder that can hinder reading, writing, spelling and speaking, and can create barriers to enjoying social interactions that as a result can negatively impact self-esteem.

Every child struggles with learning at times, but learning disabilities (LDs) such as dyslexia do not come and go but persist over time. While dyslexia is most often formally identified in school-age children, signs of dyslexia can frequently be detected in preschoolers.

If you’re concerned about your child, review the following list of common warning signs of dyslexia in children in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 2.

For at least the past six months, my child has had trouble:

  • Learning to speak (delayed compared to his peers);
  • Learning the alphabet, numbers and days of the week;
  • Naming people and objects;
  • Speaking precisely and using a varied, age-appropriate vocabulary;
  • Staying on topic;
  • Getting or staying interested in stories and books;
  • Understanding the relationship between speaker and listener;
  • Pronouncing word correctly (example: says “mazagine” instead of “magazine”);
  • Learning and correctly using new vocabulary words;
  • Distinguishing words from other words that sound similar;
  • Rhyming words;
  • Understanding instructions/directions; and
  • Repeating what has just been said.

  • Reading
  • Naming letters;
  • Recognizing letters, matching letters to sounds and blending sounds when speaking;
  • Learning to read as expected for his/her age;
  • Associating letters with sounds, understanding the difference between sounds in words;
  • Accurately blending letter sounds within words;
  • Recognizing and remembering sight words;
  • Remembering printed words;
  • Distinguishing between letters and words that look similar;
  • Learning and remembering new vocabulary words;
  • Keeping one’s place - and not skipping over words - while reading; and
  • Showing confidence and interest in reading.

  • Writing
  • Learning to copy and write at an age-appropriate level;
  • Writing letters, numbers and symbols in the correct order;
  • Spelling words correctly and consistently most of the time; and
  • Proofreading and correcting written work.

  • Social-Emotional
  • Making and keeping friends;
  • Interpreting people's non-verbal cues, “body language” and tone of voice; and
  • Is motivated and self-confident about learning.

  • Other
  • Sense of direction/spatial concepts (such as left and right); and
  • Performing consistently on tasks from day to day.

  • If your child displays several of these warning signs, don't hesitate to seek help. Print this article, check off the warning signs that apply to your child, and take the list to a professional(s). With proper identification and support, your child will be better able to succeed in school and in life. The sooner a child’s LD is identified, the greater the remediation results will be, so trust your observations and have the courage to advocate for any special needs.