Middle School Signs


  • Very slow in acquiring reading skills. Reading is slow and awkward

  • Trouble reading unfamiliar words, often making wild guesses because he cannot sound out the word

  • Doesn’t seem to have a strategy for reading new words

  • Avoids reading out loud


  • Searches for a specific word and ends up using vague language, such as “stuff” or “thing” a lot, without

  • naming the object?

  • Pauses, hesitates, and/or uses lots of “umm’s” when speaking

  • Confuses words that sound alike, such as saying “tornado” for “volcano,” substituting “lotion” for “ocean”

  • Mispronunciation of long, unfamiliar, or complicated words

  • Seems to need extra time to respond to questions.

Activities and Life

  • Trouble with remembering dates, names, telephone numbers, random lists

  • Has trouble finishing tests on time

  • Extreme difficulty learning a foreign language

  • Messy handwriting

  • Low self-esteem that may not be immediately visible

  • Spells the same word differently in the same homework assignment.

  • Struggles with writing assignments

  • Struggles to fit in

Source: Overcoming Dyslexia © Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D.


  • Excellent thinking skills: conceptualization, reasoning, imagination, abstraction.

  • Learning through meaning rather than rote memorization.

  • Ability to get the “big picture”.

  • A high level of understanding of what is read to him.

  • The ability to read and to understand a highly practiced word in a special area of interest or hobby.

  • Improvement as an area of interest becomes more specialized and focused, when he develops a miniature vocabulary that he can read.

  • A surprisingly sophisticated listening vocabulary.

  • Excellence in areas not dependent on reading, such as math, computers, and visual arts, or excellence in more conceptual subjects, such as philosophy, biology, social studies, and creative writing.