Dyslexia Indicators in 1st Grade


Dyslexia is found on the lower end of a continuum of reading skills (Elliott 2020; Shaywitz,  S., Escobar, Shaywitz, B., Fletcher, and Makuch 1992). Students with dyslexia range from  those who experience difficulties with phonological awareness and word level difficulties  to those having profound difficulties with reading and writing that persist throughout  their lives.


  • Moderately inherited Trait
  • Difficulty with phonological processing which impacts decoding and blending of sounds
  • Slow reading fluency compared to others in their grade
  • Difficulty with graphology, morphology, and phonology that impact encoding - spelling
  • Difficulty with rapid automatic naming of familiar objects (word retrieval).  This translates to difficulties recalling written words

Potential Indicators of dyslexia towards the end of 1st Grade:  

  • Difficulty recalling names of letters quickly
  • Difficulty matching letters with sounds
  • Difficulty with rapid automatic naming of common words
  • Difficulty with phonemic awareness - blending or segmenting sounds
  • Difficulty with encoding - spelling - omitting sounds, adding sounds, transposing sounds
  • Difficulty remembering sequences - ex. Days of the week
  • Does not utilize strategies to decipher unfamiliar words
  • Significant gap between reading comprehension and listening comprehension skills

Framework to support students identified with dyslexia:

  • Differentiate universal instruction in the classroom
  • Intervention
  • Special Education

Critical Principles of Reading Instruction

  • Early intervention based on individual needs
  • Instruction guided by assessment
  • Instruction is systematic, cumulative, and systemic
  • Explicit instruction
  • Feedback addresses individual needs
  • Opportunities to apply strategies to better generalize skills
  • Collaboration 
  • Educators engage and motivate students 
Content of Instruction
  • Phonological awareness
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Alphabetic principle
  • Phonics
  • Morphology
  • fluency
  • Questions? Real answers from 25 years of experience increasing reading skills.

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