What is Dyslexia?

Have a SMART Student

who is struggling with reading, writing, math and/or spelling?

It may be DYSLEXIA.

Letter reversals are not the only, or even the most common, sign.

1 in 5 People Suffer from Dyslexia.

You are not alone.


  • Dyslexia is characterized by difficulty with accurate and fluid word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities that are unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities. (A list of signs and strengths of dyslexia are listed on the back of this flier.)
  • Dyslexia occurs at ALL levels of intelligence. Most students with dyslexia have average or above average IQs. Students can even be gifted with dyslexia, which is known as twice exceptional or “2E.”
  • Many children reverse letters. It is not a sure sign of dyslexia. A child can be highly dyslexic and NOT reverse letters.
  • Each person experiences dyslexia differently. Some may have profound problems reading, while others may read “ok” but have severe problems spelling. Many students have a mild case but may never be diagnosed because they are smart and doing “well enough.”
  • Students with dyslexia can and do learn to read and write well but require the use of an intensive method called “Structured-Literacy.”


I have posted pictures and videos of Clara’s reading and writing samples on the Decoding Dyslexia TN website.  Seeing what dyslexia looks like is very helpful. Please check this great resource out!


 (List taken from Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.)

Kindergarten & First Grade:


•Reading errors that show no connection to the sounds of the letters on the page—will say “puppy” instead of the written word “dog” in an illustrated page with a dog shown.

•Does not understand that words come apart.

•Complains about how hard reading is, or “disappearing” when it is time to read.

•A history of reading problems in parents or siblings.

•Cannot sound out even simple words like cat, map, nap.

•Does not associate letters with sounds, such as the letter b with the “b” sound.



•A great imagination

•The ability to figure things out

•Eager embrace of new ideas

•Getting the gist of things

•A good understanding of new concepts

•Surprising maturity

•A larger vocabulary for the age

•Enjoyment in solving puzzles

•Talent at building models

•Excellent comprehension of stories read or told to him or her


Second Grade and Up:


•Very slow in acquiring reading skills.  Reading is slow and awkward.

•Trouble reading unfamiliar words, often making wild guesses because he cannot sound out the word.

•Doesn’t seem to have a strategy for reading new words

•Avoids reading out loud.

•Searches for a specific word and ends up using vague language such as “stuff” or “thing” a lot, without name the object.

•Pauses, hesitates, and/or uses lots of “umm’s” when speaking.

•Confuses words that sound alike, such as saying “tornado” for “volcano,” substituting “lotion” for “ocean.”

•Mispronunciation of long, unfamiliar, or complicated words

•Seems to need extra time to respond to questions.

•Trouble with remembering dates, names, telephone numbers, random lists.

•Has trouble finishing tests on time.

•Extreme difficulty learning a foreign language.

•Messy handwriting

•Low self-esteem that may not be immediately visible


•Excellent thinking skills: conceptualization, reasoning, imagination, abstraction.

•Learning that is accomplished best through meaning rather than rote memorization.

•Ability to get the “big picture.”

•A high level of understanding of what is read to him.

•The ability to read and to understand at a high level over-learned (that is, highly practiced) words in a special area of interest; for example, if his hobby is restoring cars, he may be able to read auto mechanic magazines

•Improvement as an area of interest becomes more specialized and focused, when he develops a miniature vocabulary that he can read.

•A surprisingly sophisticated listening vocabulary.

•Excellence in areas not dependent on reading, such as math, computers, and visual arts, or excellence in more conceptual subjects such as philosophy, biology, social studies, neuroscience, and creative writing.