Ask the ExpertsCategory: OtherEarly Signs of Reading Problems
Ali L. asked 5 years ago

What are some early signs of reading disabilities?  My daughter is entering 1st grade and I want to make sure she doesn’t fall behind.  Thanks.

1 Answers
Lorna Kaufman Staff answered 5 years ago

Hi Ali, You are a very wise mother to be alert to potential reading problems at such a young age. You can avoid a lot of pain for your daughter by catching things now. There are some general risk factors such as: 1) slow language development when your daughter was first learning to speak and 2) close family members with a history of reading problems. However, since your daughter has already completed kindergarten, I suggest that you evaluate her pre-reading and early reading skills.

The National Academy of Science (NAS) guidelines for what children should know by the end of kindergarten are posted on this website under Free Downloads. Basically, she should be able to write her name, manage some tasks related to rhyming and isolating sounds in words (tests of phonological awareness), and be able to identify, write, and provide sounds for the letters of the alphabet.

There is a short informal screening test that you can administer at home to see if she has mastered these basic skills. The screening test is found in the book, Smart Kid, Can’t Read, and on this website. You can view a video of Sandy administering the test on our website (click “View the Videos”). You will be able to determine whether your concerns are justified by administering this short test at home. If you find that your daughter has difficulty with these tasks, it may be time to seek help. I really congratulate you for checking this out now. Lorna