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Signs of dyslexia

This page of our website offers information about Dyslexia for people who wish to know more or have concerns regarding their child.

The information below is taken from the British Dyslexia association website:


Signs of dyslexia

There is a misconception that dyslexia just affects the ability to read and write. If this were true, it would be much easier to identify. In fact dyslexia can have an affect on areas such as coordination, organisation and memory. Each person with dyslexia will experience the condition in a way that is unique to them and as such, each will have their own set of abilities and difficulties. However, if you know what to look for, there common signs that can help you to identify whether the difficulties being experienced could be indicative of dyslexia and would suggest that further investigation could be beneficial.

Signs of dyslexia (Primary school age)

If a child appears to be struggling with spelling, reading, writing or numeracy, how do you know whether these difficulties are potential indications of dyslexia? There are some obvious signs such as a 'spiky' profile which means that a child has areas of strong ability alongside areas of weakness. You may also have other family members with similar weaknesses. Remember that not all dyslexic children will display the same weaknesses and abilities.

 General signs to look for are:

  • Speed of processing: slow spoken and/or written language
  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Forgetting words
  • Poor standard of written work compared with oral ability
  • Produces messy work with many crossings out and words tried several times, e.g. wippe, wype, wiep, wipe
  • Confused by letters which look similar, particularly b/d, p/g, p/q, n/u, m/w
  • Poor handwriting with many ‘reversals’ and badly formed letters
  • Spells a word several different ways in one piece of writing
  • Makes anagrams of words, e.g. tired for tried, bread for beard
  • Produces badly set-out written work, doesn’t stay close to the margin
  • Poor pencil grip
  • Produces phonetic and bizarre spelling: not age/ability appropriate
  • Uses unusual sequencing of letters or words


  • Slow reading progress
  • Finds it difficult to blend letters together
  • Has difficulty in establishing syllable division or knowing the beginnings and endings of words
  • Unusual pronunciation of words
  • No expression in reading, and poor comprehension
  • Hesitant and laboured reading, especially when reading aloud
  • Misses out words when reading, or adds extra words
  • Fails to recognise familiar words
  • Loses the point of a story being read or written
  • Has difficulty in picking out the most important points from a passage


  • Confusion with place value e.g. units, tens, hundreds
  • Confused by symbols such as + and x signs
  • Difficulty remembering anything in a sequential order, e.g. tables, days of the week, the alphabet


  • Has difficulty learning to tell the time
  • Poor time keeping
  • Poor personal organisation
  • Difficulty remembering what day of the week it is, their birth date, seasons of the year, months of the year
  • Difficulty with concepts – yesterday, today, tomorrow


  • Poor motor skills, leading to weaknesses in speed, control and accuracy of the pencil
  • Limited understanding of non verbal communication
  • Confused by the difference between left and right, up and down, east and west
  • Indeterminate hand preference
  • Performs unevenly from day to day


  • Uses work avoidance tactics, such as sharpening pencils and looking for books
  • Seems ‘dreamy’, does not seem to listen
  • Easily distracted
  • Is the 'class clown' or is disruptive or withdrawn
  • Is excessively tired due to amount of concentration and effort required

A cluster of these indicators alongside other areas where your child shows ability may suggest dyslexia and further investigation may be required.



If having read this you feel your child may be showing signs of dyslexia, your first point of contact should be your child’s class teacher. They will then bring your concerns to the school SENDCo to discuss the next steps.



In school teachers and Learning support assistants may become aware that a child is experiencing difficulties relating to Dyslexia in a number of ways. For example they may notice a child:

  • Requires more time to process information or complete tasks than other children
  • Finds it particularly difficult to reflect their verbal abilities in writing
  • Exhibits frustration with tasks, or withdraws from class discussions
  • Is making slow progress in reading
  • Is making slow progress in spelling
  • Finds it difficult to organise themselves for learning
  • Has difficulty tracking along a line of text or copying from the board
  • There are also regular testing and progress meetings during an academic year which can highlight slow progress or a mis-match in what a child is achieving and what the teacher expects.


If a screening test highlights risk factors for Dyslexia then the teacher, LSA and SENDCo will look at ways of supporting the child with learning. It is important to remember that each child’s experience of Dyslexia is different and this leads to different children requiring different types of support. Some of the strategies used in school include:

  • Additional time for completing tasks
  • Additional adult time to ensure understanding of teaching input
  • Availability of visual resources
  • Colour overlays and or paper
  • Additional teaching of specific skills e.g phonics, reading, spelling or maths skills
  • Adapting class tasks to meet the child’s needs
  • Use of alternative means of recording work, including the use of IT