Reading & Literacy Report Roundup

Signs of Dyslexia Emerge Before 1st Grade, Study Says

By Sarah D. Sparks — January 05, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The academic gaps related to dyslexia can show up in verbal deficiencies years before children traditionally are expected to read, and can continue well into the teenage years, according to a study.

Dyslexia, a persistent difficulty in reading, is the most common learning disability, affecting about 1 in 5 school-age students.

For their research, which was published late last year in the Journal of Pediatrics, Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, the co-directors of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, tracked a subsample of 414 participants from the Connecticut Longitudinal Study, a 33-year, ongoing study of the emergence and effects of reading disabilities.

The Shaywitzes found that students with dyslexia in 1st grade performed 1.5 standard deviations below typically developing readers, and those skills gaps remained at a full standard deviation in 12th grade. To put that in perspective: Students with dyslexia were still below a typical 1st grade reader’s skills in word identification and comprehension when they were in 2nd grade and were not decoding as well as a typical 1st grade reader in 3rd grade.

The researchers also identified signs of dyslexia even before children start school, including mispronouncing words, having difficulty learning the names of letters in the alphabet, or being unable to find an object that starts with a particular sound—for example, pointing to a ball when told “buh.”

“You can look for signs when the child has trouble learning common nursery rhymes,” Sally Shaywitz said in an interview. “In order to appreciate common rhymes, you have to be able to pull apart spoken words to their component sounds, and the child can’t do that.”

She said the study findings suggest that schools should consider screening students for potential reading difficulties even before they begin formal reading.

A version of this article appeared in the January 06, 2016 edition of Education Week as Signs of Dyslexia Emerge Before 1st Grade, Study Says


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
How to Leverage Virtual Learning: Preparing Students for the Future
Hear from an expert panel how best to leverage virtual learning in your district to achieve your goals.
Content provided by Class
English-Language Learners Webinar AI and English Learners: What Teachers Need to Know
Explore the role of AI in multilingual education and its potential limitations.
Education Webinar The K-12 Leader: Data and Insights Every Marketer Needs to Know
Which topics are capturing the attention of district and school leaders? Discover how to align your content with the topics your target audience cares about most. 

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy Opinion Tired of the Reading Wars? Become a Conscientious Objector
Teachers' obligation is to their students. The research combined with the knowledge of individual students should be the guide.
14 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Reading & Literacy Opinion Don’t Worry About 'Book Bans'
So-called “book bans” are a lot rarer—and more reasonable—than you might think, argue Max Eden and Jay P. Greene.
Max Eden & Jay P. Greene
5 min read
Tidy vector hand drawn background with Books, Vintage cozy elements, printed publications, volumes of literature, retro library flying objects, decor textile, wrapping paper, wallpaper,  textured pattern
Olga Kurbatova/iStock
Reading & Literacy Opinion Teachers, You Don't Need to Choose Sides in the Reading Wars
Instead of arguing over who's right, let's focus attention on expanding knowledge about unresolved instructional issues.
12 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Reading & Literacy How Educators Are Trying to Find the Staff and Money to Improve Reading Instruction
A district leader and a state literacy education chief share tips for overcoming hiring challenges and navigating funding constraints.
1 min read
082423 Student Literacy EDU BS
Allison Shelley for All4Ed