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Preschool & Kindergarten Warning Signs for Reading Difficulty

Updated: Sep 16, 2021


If three or more of these warning signs exist, especially if there is dyslexia or ADD/ADHD in the family, your child should be tested for dyslexia when he or she turns five years old. Also, phonemic awareness games and other reading readiness activities should be done daily during the preschool years.


Here are some indicators or red flags for reading difficulty in later school years:

  • Can be 'Late Talkers' starting to talk around 2½, 3, or even older.

  • Mixing up sounds in multi-syllabic words: For example, aminal for animal, bisghetti for spaghetti, hekalopter for helicopter, hangaberg for hamburger, mazageen for magazine, etc.

  • Early stuttering.

  • Lots of ear infections.

  • Has difficulty tying shoe laces.

  • Confusion over left versus right, over versus under, before versus after, and other directionality words and concepts.

  • Late to establish a dominant hand: May switch from right hand to left hand while colouring, writing, or doing any other task. Eventually, the child will usually establish a preferred hand, but it may not be until they are 7 or 8. Even then, they may use one hand for writing, but the other hand for sports.

  • Inability to correctly complete phonemic awareness tasks.

  • Despite listening to stories that contain lots of rhyming words, such as Dr. Seuss, cannot tell you words that rhyme with cat or seat by the age of 4½.

  • Difficulty learning the names of the letters or sounds in the alphabet; difficulty writing the alphabet in order.

  • Trouble correctly articulating R's and L's as well as M's and N's. They often have “immature” speech. They may still be saying “wed and gween” instead of “red and green” in 2nd or 3rd grade.

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