• Characteristics of dyslexia and related disorders: Second Grade through High School


    • Very slow in acquiring reading skills. Reading is slow and awkward
    • Trouble reading unfamiliar words, often making wild guesses because he cannot sound out the word
    • Doesn’t seem to have a strategy for reading new words
    • Avoids reading out loud


    • Searches for a specific word and ends up using vague language, such as “stuff” or “thing,” without naming the object
    • Pauses, hesitates, and/or uses lots of “um’s” when speaking
    • Confuses words that sound alike, such as saying “tornado” for “volcano,” substituting “lotion” for “ocean”
    • Mispronunciation of long, unfamiliar or complicated words
    • Seems to need extra time to respond to questions

     School and Life

    • Trouble remembering dates, names, telephone numbers, random lists
    • Struggles to finish tests on time
    • Extreme difficulty learning a foreign language
    • Poor spelling
    • Messy handwriting
    • Low self-esteem that may not be immediately visible


    • Excellent thinking skills: conceptualization, reasoning, imagination, abstraction
    • Learning that is accomplished best through meaning rather than rote memorization
    • Ability to get the “big picture”
    • A high level of understanding of what is read to them
    • The ability to read and to understand at a high level overlearned (or highly practiced) words in a special area of interest; for example, if he or she loves cooking they may be able to read food magazines and cookbooks
    • Improvement as an area of interest becomes more specialized and focused—and a miniature vocabulary is developed that allows for reading in that subject area
    • A surprisingly sophisticated listening vocabulary
    • Excels in areas not dependent on reading, such as math, computers and visual arts, or in more conceptual (versus fact-driven) subjects, including philosophy, biology, social studies, neuroscience and creative writing


    © Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia, pp. 123–125