Listed below are some common areas that dyslexic children often show difficulties in (For age specific symptoms, please refer to the checklist attached with the referral forms). However, it should be noted that not every dyslexic child will present with all of these difficulties. In addition, sometimes children who present with some of these signs could also have other difficulties aside from dyslexia.

To find out more about your child's difficulties, do look at the Learning Checklist.


Common errors in reading and spelling:

  • Confuses letters that look alike e.g. b/d, p/q
  • May reverse letter sequences e.g. "was" for "saw", "on" for “no”
  • Makes anagrams of words e.g. "tired" for "tried", "wives" for "views"
  • Mixes up words that start with the same letters e.g. “there”, “that”, “the”, etc.
  • Omits or adds letters in words e.g. “lip” for “limp”
  • Unable to write down a word even when the letters are dictated
  • Unable to identify the appropriate letter when given a sound and vice versa


Difficulties associated with reading:

  • Reads below age/grade level
  • Reads hesitantly and effortfully
  • Difficulty recognising familiar / high-frequency words
  • Substitutes words of similar meaning e.g., “road” for “street”
  • Misreads common words, such as “a” for “and”, “the” for “a”, “from” for “for”, etc
  • Ignores punctuation, e.g. not pausing for commas etc.
  • Difficulty remembering and/or understanding text passages
  • Difficulty extracting important points from a passage
  • Loses place in a line of print
  • Skips or re-reads a line of words in a passage
  • Leaves out words or adds extra words
  • Complains that words or lines of text on page seem to move, yet standard eye examinations do not reveal a problem


Difficulties associated with spelling and writing:

  • Spells below age/grade level
  • Poor handwriting
  • Numerous spelling errors in a piece of work and may spell the same word in several different ways.
  • Confuses similar sounding words when spelling, e.g. "one" and "won"
  • Poor standard of written work compared to oral ability
  • Messy, badly organised work
  • Has trouble copying from the board in class
  • Letters, syllables and words omitted, inserted or placed in the wrong order
  • Mixes capital and small letter within words e.g., dysLexiA
  • Lack of punctuation, or totally inappropriate use of punctuation
  • Cannot write in a straight line


Short-term and/or Verbal Working Memory:

  • May learn and understand how to do something, but requires frequent reminders before they remember to do it.
  • Difficulty remembering multiple-step instructions
  • May have excellent long-term memory for movies, experiences, locations and faces, but poor memory for sequences as well as unfamiliar facts and information


Sequencing Difficulties with:

  • Sorting or ordering information
  • Writing/reciting the alphabet / numbers 
  • Remembering/executing a list of instructions
  • The months of the year and days of the week in order
  • Mathematics
  • Giving a good verbal account of an event/events in their correct order



  • Difficulty expressing thoughts and may communicate more with gestures rather than words
  • Difficulty finding the words he/she wants to use
  • People who do not know the child well have difficulty understanding what he/she says
  • Mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases and words when speaking
  • Difficulty attaching names to things and people


Time / Mathematics:

  • Difficulty telling time as well as managing and being on time
  • Difficulty counting objects and/or dealing with money
  • Difficulty with Mathematical word problems despite adequate ability to solve arithmetic operations
  • May have a problem with numbers and calculations involving adding, subtracting and time tables
  • May be confused by similar-looking mathematical signs; e.g., + and - ; < (less than) and > (greater than)
  • May be confused by terms, e.g., deduction, minus and subtraction; adding versus find the total
  • May reverse numbers, such as reading or writing “17” for “71”
  • May transpose numbers i.e., 752 for 572; or transcribe their answers wrongly
  • May have a difficulty with performing mental calculations



  • Disorganised
  • Easily frustrated or emotional about school, reading, writing, or mathematics
  • Appears bright and articulate but performs unexpectedly poorer than expected in the academic areas
  • Performs much better when tested orally, but not in written form
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention
  • Has a poor sense of direction and/or confusion between left and right
  • Common signs of dyslexia by school level