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Signs of a Reading Problem

May 5, 2014
By Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts - Contributing Writers , OVParent

Question: What are the signs of a reading problem in the early years? - Concerned

Answer: Here are some warning signs that your child might have a reading problem:


- Doesn't know how to hold a book.

- Can't tell the difference between letters and squiggles.

- Can't recognize own name.

- Only says a small number of words.

- Doesn't like rhyming games and can't fill in the rhyming word in familiar nursery rhymes.


- Can't tell the difference between the sounds that make up a word (phonics).

- Slow to name familiar objects and colors.

- Can't remember the names and sounds of the letters.

- By the end of kindergarten, can't write most of the consonant sounds in a word (it's normal for vowels to be missing until later).


- Has trouble pronouncing new words and remembering them.

- Has trouble blending sounds together to say words.

- Falls way behind classmates.

- Can't figure out unknown words.

- Says reading is easier for his or her classmates.

- Avoids reading.

- Resists reading aloud.


- Starts to withdraw.

- Has some troubling behavior.

- Seems to guess at unknown words.

- Does not get meaning from reading.

These signs of a reading problem were provided by Kyla Boyse, R.N. of the University of Michigan Health System. Additional information can be found online at

- Send questions and comments to Dear Teacher, c/o OV Parent, 1 N. Illinois St. No. 2004, Indianapolis, IN 46204, or log on to, or email



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