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What characteristics should we look for in preschool children who would be at risk for dyslexia?

Expert answer

The most important clues in a preschool child are:

  • A family history of reading problems
  • Delayed speech
  • Lack of appreciation and enjoyment of rhymes — e.g., not appreciating the rhymes in a Dr. Seuss book
  • Not being able to recite rhymes by age 3
  • Continuation of baby talk
  • Trouble pronouncing words
  • Trouble learning the alphabet — (not the alphabet song, but knowing the individual names of the letters of the alphabet)

It is important to keep in mind that you are looking for a pattern of these clues — ones that keeping occurring often. Not knowing a rhyme or a the name of a letter once or twice is not what we are looking for. A pattern that occurs over and over again is what to look for.

— Dr. Sally Shaywitz

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