Signs of dyslexia vary depending on age. If your child has one or two of the signs, it does not mean that he or she has dyslexia, but having several of the signs listed below may mean that your child should be tested.  A diagnosis of dyslexia or specific learning disability must be made by a trained professional.


Children may: 

  • talk later than most children
  • have difficulty pronouncing words
  • be slow to add new vocabulary words
  • be unable to recall the right word(s)
  • have difficulty with rhyming
  • have trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, colors, shapes, how to write his or her name
  • be unable to follow multi-step directions or routines
  • have difficulty telling and/or retelling a story in the correct sequence
  • often have difficulty separating sounds in words and blending sounds to make words

Kindergarten through Grade 4

Children may: 

  • have difficulty reading single words that are not surrounded by other words.
  • be slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds.
  • confuse small words such as “at” and “to,” or “does” and “goes.”
  • make consistent reading and spelling errors, including:
    • letter reversals such as “d” for “b.”
    • word reversals such as “tip” for “pit.”
    • inversions such as “m” and “w” and “u” and “n.”
    • transpositions such as “felt” and “left.”
    • substitutions such as “house” and “home.
  • often uses an awkward pencil grip
  • have trouble learning to tell time

Grades 5 through 8

Children may: 

  • read at a lower level than expected.
  • reverse letter sequence such as “soiled” for “solid,” “left” for “felt.”
  • be slow to recognize and learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other reading and spelling strategies.
  • have difficulty spelling, and he or she may spell the same word differently on the same page.
  • avoid reading aloud.
  • have trouble with word problems in math.
  • write with difficulty or have illegible handwriting. His or her pencil grip may be awkward, fistlike, or tight.
  • avoid writing.
*Adapted from articles at Reading Rockets and  WebMD.