Educational advocacy, learning disabilities advocacy     Internet Special Education Resources
Special Education & Learning Disabilities Resources: A Nationwide Directory

Poor Readers? Recognize the Risk Factors

by Sabra Gelfond, M.A., CCC-SLP
National Speech/Language Therapy Center

Is your child at risk for reading problems? Learn to recognize the risk factors:

  • Ages 8 and Under

    Children as young as 5 can be screened for reading problems with simple phonemic awareness tests. Consider a screening that probes for reading difficulties or schedule a complete cognitive skills evaluation if you see any of the following risk factors:

    • Pre-K or Kindergarten: Difficulty
    • Recognizing rhymes
    • Remembering names of friends, peers, etc.
    • With normal language development
    • Recognizing some letter shapes
      End of 1st Grade: Difficulty
    • Learning the alphabet and corresponding letter sounds
    • Applying "phonics" to reading and spelling
    • Spelling common sight words
    • Retelling stories in sequence and making predictions
    • Reading aloud with some fluency and comprehension
      End of 2nd Grade: Difficulty
    • Recalling facts and details
    • Using phonics to sound out words including multi-syllable words
    • Correctly spelling previously studied and commonly seen words
  • Ages 9 and Up
    • Training is available to help older students overcome life-long reading difficulties. Does your older child need help?

Warnings Signs to Watch in Your Older Child:

  • The mispronunciation of the names of people and places
  • Struggles retrieving a desired word to express oneself
  • A hesitation to say or read words aloud that might be mispronounced
  • A history of reading and spelling difficulties
  • A lack of fluency in reading
  • Embarrassment about or not wanting to read aloud
  • Spending inordinate amounts of time doing homework
  • A dislike of reading
  • Showing a preference for books that have fewer words per page
  • Persistent spelling difficulties or selecting easy-to-spell alternatives when writing
  • The substitution of made-up words during reading for words that are too difficult for the reader to pronounce

About LearningRx and the National Speech/Language Therapy Center
Sabra Gelfond has worked extensively with children who have speech, language, behavior, and reading disorders. Ms. Gelfond is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has been the Executive Director of National Speech/Language Therapy Center since 1989 and has been featured in the Washington Post, on National Public Radio, and in professional journals.

NOTE: Reading problems/dyslexia screenings and a complete cognitive skills test are essential first steps to getting a struggling reader on track. LearningRx Training Centers offer screenings and affordable testing packages to parents seeking to help their children. Please call your local LearningRx professional or visit for information you can use today.

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


Educational advocacy, learning disabilities advocacy     Return to ISER Home