Dyslexia Indicators in 2nd - 3rd 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 2nd to 3rd grade:  

  • Often misreads high frequency words 
  • Difficulty decoding -makes single sound errors, omits syllables, skips prefixes or suffixes
  • Word retrieval difficulties
  • Does not employ strategies to decode multisyllabic words
  • Skips words while reading
  • Reversals and transpositions of letters, numbers or words  - saw/was, b/d, 6/9
  • Spelling the same word differently in a single writing piece
  • Omits, transposes, substitutes, or adds sounds when spelling phonetically regular words
  • Lacks fluency in oral reading at instructional or independent level
  • Poor word recognition impacts comprehension
  • Difficulty memorizing math facts

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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