It is estimated that 15-20 percent of the population experiences challenges with reading. This translates to one in five children who may be affected by reading difficulties such as dyslexia and in need of identification and support. As parents, we all want to ensure our children are poised for success in the classroom. How can we know what is developmentally appropriate for our children as early readers and what might actually be a sign pointing to a learning obstacle? Years of research has helped experts in the field of dyslexia understand early flags and how to address those areas through intervention. Let’s begin first by explaining exactly what dyslexia is while dispelling common myths.
What is Dyslexia?
Simply stated, dyslexia is “trouble with reading”. According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.
In 2002, the International Dyslexia Association adopted the following definition of dyslexia, “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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.”
This definition can serve as a guide for parents in identifying signs of dyslexia in their children. Is there a family history of learning difficulties? Does your child struggle with learning letter names and the sound associated with those letters? Is your child able to identify words that rhyme? You may also notice difficulty recalling sight words such as, have, said, or what and using phonics skills like knowing the sounds of individual letters to read decodable words. Dyslexia is not simply letter reversals. It is not a lack of effort on the part of your child and dyslexia is not something individuals “outgrow”.
We’ve created a “checklist” to help parents identify some of the signs and symptoms of dyslexia in kindergarten.
- Has difficulty reading single words
- May be slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
- May have difficulty rhyming
- May be unable to recall the right word
- May confuse small words at/to, said/and, a/the
- Makes consistent reading and spelling errors
- May be slow to learn new skills, often relying on memorizing without understanding
- May be unable to follow multi-step directions and routines
(Adapted from the International Dyslexia Association, www.readingrockets.org)
If you notice some of these signs in your emergent reader, there is a solution! Our award-winning early literacy screener was developed to help you identify your child’s risk for dyslexia. EarlyBird is the most comprehensive assessment available for kindergartners and first graders, assessing the key literacy milestones shown to be most predictive of later reading success. The EarlyBird screener tests across the 5 critical reading skills; phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
The game based screener is fun and engaging. Your child joins their new friend, Pip, on a delightful and self-directed journey through the city, meeting and interacting with animal friends along the way. While your child is having fun, key components are assessed to predict later success and identify early warning flags of dyslexia. Meet with a Literacy Specialist today to find out how EarlyBird Families can provide next step solutions to getting your reader headed in the right direction!