How Early Can Dyslexia Be Identified?


Dyslexia is most often diagnosed around the third grade level, but the earlier it can be identified the better.

Fran (teacher) asks: Can we identify dyslexia before third grade? If so, how do we do that? If so, are we doing that? If we aren’t, why not?

Reading Kingdom founder, Dr. Marion Blank answers:

“There are simple methods that can be used to identify “dyslexia” even before children start to read. “Theoretically” of course, this is not possible since a child is not categorized as dyslexic until he or she is significantly behind in reading relative to age and grade norms. But a number of easy to administer tests are quite accurate in identifying preschool and kindergarten children who prior to doing any reading are likely to be identifiably dyslexic a few years down the road. For example, a skill called “naming” (i.e., easily coming up with the names of common objects such as “chair, house, pencil, comb” etc) is highly correlated with reading ability. Young children who are slow in naming or have trouble in recalling names may be candidates for dyslexia.

The problem is not identification. The problem is the method of instruction. Although “phonics instruction” is routinely offered as the solution to dyslexia, it frequently doesn’t work in practice. For most children with reading problems, traditional phonics instruction exacerbates the problems that they have. For example, phonics instruction calls for children to “name” (sound out) each letter in a word. You see this in the sounding out of a word like “cat” where instead of the single word “cat” they have at a minimum the three names of “cuh aah, tuh” For children with naming problems, this procedure is difficult and frustrating.”

The Reading Kingdom helps children with dyslexia learn to read. Our program is designed to teach a range of skills, including visual memory and other specific language deficits that are often left out of other reading programs.   Sign up for a free 30 day trial of Reading Kingdom and help your child steadily build the skills they need to become fluent readers and writers!