Reading Disorders

The ability to read fluently and effectively is crucial. Reading disorders are characterized by challenges in a number of aspects of reading, including decoding, fluency, and comprehension. Those with reading disorders may also have problems with writing and spelling, since they often go hand-in-hand. Reading disorders affect as many as 80% of all children with learning disabilities.

Sometimes referred to as dyslexia, reading disorders affect the way language is processed in the brain. These disorders are not correlated with intelligence; indeed, some individuals with dyslexia have what’s now known as the “dyslexic advantage.” For example, difficulty with reading may co-exist, or even have a causal relationship, with enhanced spatial and reasoning skills. Proper management can help individuals with dyslexia learn accurately and efficiently, and progress to a successful career.


Reading disorders show different signs and symptoms at various stages of life.


Preschoolers may have difficulty:

  • Recognizing rhyming words
  • Identifying letters
  • Matching letters to corresponding sounds

Grade Students

Grade school students may have challenges with:

  • Combining various sounds to create a word
  • Word problems in math
  • Identifying common sight words
  • Spelling previously learned words

College Students

Older students may have difficulty reaching higher levels of literacy.
From the Mayo Clinic

  • Difficulty reading, including reading aloud
  • Slow and labor-intensive reading and writing
  • Problems spelling
  • Avoiding activities that involve reading
  • Mispronouncing names or words, or problems retrieving words from memory
  • Trouble understanding jokes or expressions that have a meaning not understood because of specific words (idioms, for example: "piece of cake" meaning "easy")
  • Difficulty completing tasks that involve reading or writing
  • Challenges with summarizing
  • Trouble learning a foreign language
  • Difficulty memorizing
  • Problems with math problems

Reading disorders cannot yet be “cured;” they are life-long disabilities.
Management requires help from parents, therapists, teachers, peers, and siblings.

Ways to tutor those with reading disabilities include:

  • A multisensory, systematic, structured language literacy approach
  • When appropriate, explicitly teaching phonics, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary
  • More time allotted to complete literacy tasks.
  • Listening to books on audio
  • Structured academic modifications to suit the needs of the student