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Common Signs of Dyslexia

Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. This article provides a list of common signs of dyslexia.

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Reading problems can be tough on the whole family. If your child is struggling, the first thing to do is to find out why. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. It’s a learning disability that can affect both boys and girls, and is more common in children whose parents also had difficulty with reading and writing.

Children with dyslexia can go on to become successful readers, but it’s important to get extra help early!

Common signs

If these signs remind you of your child, talk with your child’s teacher to see what extra help they can offer. If difficulties persist, talk to the principal about getting a free evaluation for your child.


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


  • Has difficulty reading single words
  • May be slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
  • May confuse small words – at/to, said/and, does/goes
  • Makes consistent reading and spelling errors
  • May have trouble remembering facts
  • May be slow to learn new skills; relies heavily on memorizing without understanding
  • May be impulsive and prone to accidents
  • May have difficulty planning
  • Often uses an awkward pencil grip
  • May have trouble learning to tell time

To learn more about dyslexia, please read Dyslexia Basics(opens in a new window) on our sister site, LDOnLine.

Download this article as a PDF(opens in a new window).*

View this article in Spanish.

*To view this file, you will need a copy of Acrobat Reader. If it is not already installed on your computer, click here to download.

Adapted from:ABC’s of Dyslexia. (2000). International Dyslexia Association.

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