Identifying dyslexia in the classroom
Signs of dyslexia usually become more obvious when children start school and begin to focus on reading and writing. Here are ten of the most common warning signs:
1. Phonological awareness
This is the ability to recognize, and work with, individual sounds (phonemes).
Typical difficulties are:
Confusing vowel sounds.
Recognizing words that rhyme.
Chunking words into syllables.
Blending sounds into a whole word.
2. Typical spelling mistakes
Spelling words as they sound, e.g. wont instead of want
Mixing up the sequence of letters, e.g. hlep instead of help
Reversing the sequence of letters, e.g. was instead of saw
Missing out a letter, e.g. wich instead of which
Using the wrong letter, e.g. showt instead of shout
Adding an extra letter, e.g. whent instead of went
Using a ‘t’ instead of ‘ed’, e.g. lookt instead of looked
Can’t remember when to use ‘ck’ or ‘ke’ at the end, e.g. lick instead of like
Words and letters are often jumbled in the mind.
3.Unable to remember times tables and number sequences
A multiplication fact may seem to be learned and then a few days later has been forgotten again.
The same goes for phone numbers. Difficulty remembering a sequence of numbers is a sure sign of dyslexia.
Lots of ideas but has difficulty putting them into writing.
Taking much longer to write and producing less than other students.
Writes long rambling sentences with no punctuation.
Not knowing how to get started
Immediately forgetting what has just been read.
Slower reading speed.
Missing out words or skipping lines as they read.
Have you ever read a page, got to the bottom and realized you’ve just forgotten everything you read?
This happens all the time to people with dyslexia.
Words and their meanings don’t stick very well.
Reading becomes slow when you have to work out every word and expends so much mental energy on the process that no memory capacity is left to comprehend.
Dyslexia means they may have read a word then further down the page not recognize it again.
They have no visual memory for the word.
Their eyes can seem to jump over words, missing them out, skip out whole lines, sometimes they just skip part of a word.
6. Homophones – there – their
A homophone sounds the same as another word but is spelled differently.
They are a nightmare for those with dyslexia who usually have a poor memory for how a word looks and quickly learn to rely upon the strategy of learning to spell a word by building it phonetically. This doesn’t work for homophones.
7. Do you know the Alphabet? Backwards!
Dyslexia causes difficulty recalling sequences accurately so it is very likely that learning the alphabet will be problematic.
Using songs and rhyme often helps but the real giveaway is whether they can say it backwards – a nearly impossible task for those with dyslexia!
Dyslexia is also likely to cause problems learning the names and sounds of letters.
8. Mixing up left and right
It has become a cliché but its true that many with dyslexia cannot learn to automatically remember left and right. They have to stop and think about it.
9. Can’t remember what you’ve been told.
Difficulty carrying out a sequence of directions.
“Get out you book, turn to page 23, read the three pages” Someone with dyslexia might only remember one of these things and have to ask again. But having to ask again makes them feel stupid.
10. Reversing numbers
Dyslexia means you might see 57 but remember it as 75
Or write the answer to 6×7 as 24 instead of 42.
The output of the information becomes muddled.
Children with dyslexia who have been taught phonics can often learn to say the individual sounds but not blend them together. They can’t hold the sequence of sounds in their head for long enough. They might just panic and guess wildly.
Remember, no two people with dyslexia are exactly the same, so any child could have a mix of these signs.