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Learning Disorders in Reading/Dyslexia

Dyslexia refers to a pattern of deficits in word reading accuracy and fluency, decoding (i.e., the ability to pronounce words based on the sounds that letters and letter blends make), and spelling. While all individuals with dyslexia have a learning disorder in reading, not all individuals with a learning disorder in reading have “dyslexia” per se. For example, some individuals may struggle only with weaknesses in reading fluency (i.e., speed and accuracy of reading) or comprehension. As such, the term “dyslexia” refers to a specific pattern of reading and spelling weaknesses, despite being historically used as an umbrella term for all reading disorders.

Contrary to popular belief, dyslexia is not caused by vision-related issues (e.g., seeing a word backwards in your mind). Instead, individuals with dyslexia often have deficits in phonemic and phonological awareness, which refer to the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the sounds within words. Such individuals may have difficulty learning letter sounds, accurately sounding out unfamiliar words, and accurately spelling words by sounding them out. Individuals with dyslexia may also have impaired orthographic processing, which refers to one’s ability to visually recognize and memorize written words and parts of words. It includes the ability to immediately recognize letter sequences and patterns, and to spell phonetically irregular words. Such individuals may have difficulty recalling sight words despite repetition (instead sounding them out), and they often display weaknesses in spelling and letter reversal tendencies in reading and/or writing (e.g., b/d, p/q). As such, individuals with orthographic processing weaknesses often struggle with writing as well. 


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Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

Dyslexia Help at University of Michigan

International Dyslexia Association

Explaining Dyslexia to Your Child

Video: What is Dyslexia?

Video: How to Talk to Your Child about Dyslexia

Assistive Technology Resources


Orton Gillingham of Minnesota 

Groves Learning Organization

Orton Gillingham Reading Specialists 

The Reading Center


Barton Reading & Spelling System

Wilson Reading System



International Dyslexia Association-Upper Midwest Branch 

Books for Adults

Overcoming Dyslexia

Parenting a Struggling Reader

Straight Talk about Reading

The Dyslexic Advantage

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan

International Dyslexia Association Handbook 

Additional Book List

Books for Kids

Aaron Slater, Illustrator

My Name is Brain Brian

The Alphabet War

Additional Kids Books

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