Characteristics of Dyslexia


According to the International Dyslexia Association:
“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.”

Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, November 12, 2002.

Current Research

Read more about the current research into dyslexia, and how to intervene for students who are struggling with characteristics of dyslexia at

Characteristics of Dyslexia

Characteristics of dyslexia are more than just reversing b's and d's. It lies in the cognitive language processes that help a student determine the sound/letter/pattern relationships in our written language. A student with dyslexia, in general, will have trouble hearing the correct letter/sound correspondences in words, which leads to difficulty in decoding, spelling, fluency, and comprehension. Dyslexia also occurs on a spectrum, ranging from mild to severe.

Characteristics by Age


  • Delay in learning to talk
  • Difficulty in rhyming
  • Doesn’t enjoy listening to books that are read aloud
  • Will reverse or leave off sounds in words, i.e., pushetti for spaghetti


  • Difficulty in remembering letters and sounds
  • Cannot say the alphabet without singing
  • Unable to break words into smaller parts, i.e., base/ball
  • Does not spell phonetically

2nd – 3rd

  • Does not remember common sight words
  • Cannot sound out individual words
  • Guesses or skips words
  • Slow fluency rate
  • Non-phonetic spelling or using incorrect letters for sounds, i.e., sh for th

4th – 6th

  • Low fluency
  • Avoidance of reading
  • Inability to decode more complex words
  • Reduced vocabulary
  • Uses simple words in writing that are easy to spell

Middle School/High School/Adult

  • Slow fluency
  • Uncomfortable reading out‑loud
  • Have to read multiple times before it makes sense
  • Struggle with vocabulary
  • Struggle to keep up with homework
  • Avoidance of writing tasks
  • Difficult time pronouncing multi-syllable words
  • Difficulty learning a foreign language

Dyslexia Information and Resources

General Information
International Dyslexia Association
NCLD - National Center for Learning Disabilities

Math and Dyscalculia
Multisensory Math Instruction - Marilyn Zecher

WY Home school Resources - There's No School Like Home

Resources for Homeschool, Information On Dyslexia Resources
Celebrating Family
The Old Schoolhouse - Family Education Magazine

SOAR for Teachers - help for read‑aloud/oral administration accommodations to meet IEP requirements, homeschool assignments, and virtual schooling help for students with dyslexia.

Fun Websites
Teach Your Monster to Read
PBS Kids