Signs of dyslexia (Primary school age)

Is your child struggling with spelling, reading, writing or numeracy, do you suspect they may have dyslexia?

There are some obvious signs such as your child having areas of strong ability alongside areas of weakness and there may be other members of the family already diagnosed dyslexic (it is a genetic learning difference). It is important to be aware that different children and adults differ in their dyslexic traits and behaviours.

‘Written work

  • Poor standard of written work compared with oral ability
  • Produces messy work with many crossings out and words tried several times, e.g. wippe, wype, wiep, wipe
  • Confused by letters which look similar, particularly b/d, p/g, p/q, n/u, m/w
  • Poor handwriting with many ‘reversals’ and badly formed letters
  • Spells a word several different ways in one piece of writing
  • Makes anagrams of words, e.g. tired for tried, bread for beard
  • Produces badly set-out written work, doesn’t stay close to the margin
  • Poor pencil grip
  • Produces phonetic and bizarre spelling: not age/ability appropriate
  • Uses unusual sequencing of letters or words


  • Slow reading progress
  • Finds it difficult to blend letters together
  • Has difficulty in establishing syllable division or knowing the beginnings and endings of words
  • Unusual pronunciation of words
  • No expression in reading, and poor comprehension
  • Hesitant and laboured reading, especially when reading aloud
  • Misses out words when reading, or adds extra words
  • Fails to recognise familiar words
  • Loses the point of a story being read or written
  • Has difficulty in picking out the most important points from a passage


  • Confusion with place value e.g. units, tens, hundreds
  • Confused by symbols such as + and x signs
  • Difficulty remembering anything in sequential order, e.g. tables, days of the week, the alphabet


  • Has difficulty learning to tell the time
  • Poor timekeeping
  • Poor personal organisation
  • Difficulty remembering what day of the week it is, their birth date, seasons of the year, months of the year
  • Difficulty with concepts – yesterday, today, tomorrow


  • Poor motor skills, leading to weaknesses in speed, control and accuracy of the pencil
  • Limited understanding of non-verbal communication
  • Confused by the difference between left and right, up and down, east and west
  • Indeterminate hand preference
  • Performs unevenly from day to day


  • Uses work avoidance tactics, such as sharpening pencils and looking for books
  • Seems ‘dreamy’, does not seem to listen
  • Easily distracted
  • Is the class clown or is disruptive or withdrawn
  • Is excessively tired due to the amount of concentration and effort required

A cluster of these indicators alongside areas of ability may suggest dyslexia and further investigation may be required.’ Taken From the British Dyslexia Association’s website

How to help your child

If you believe your child to be dyslexic then you should discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher, or the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). This will open a discussion and perhaps lead to assessment and intervention to meet your child’s needs.

If you have any concerns or would like to book an assessment just get in touch,  – (01986)788011 or zoeb@mancroftlearning.co.uk


Author: Zoë Brown

I am a dyslexia specialist, qualified in assessing dyslexia and literacy related difficulties as well as tutoring dyslexic children and those who need additional literacy support. Having been diagnosed as dyslexic at an early age, I have a personal understanding of both the challenges and advantages that dyslexia brings. I feel strongly that when given the right support and positive encouragement, dyslexic people of all ages can excel in confidence and academic attainment.

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