3 Common Learning Challenges of Kids Struggling to Read

If your child is having major difficulties learning to read, one of these learning challenges may be a factor. Find out more about them.

By Jodie Rodriguez
Oct 19, 2017




Oct 19, 2017

Becoming a reader is one of the great milestones of childhood. But, it's not always an easy road. There are a variety of setbacks that can cause a child to struggle on this journey.

Needing glasses, lack of exposure to books, foundational skills not being mastered, or the teaching methods used may be impacting your child’s ability to read. But, if your child is experiencing major difficulties, there may even be a learning challenge that is impacting the process. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2.4 million American public school students have been identified with one. Here are three common learning challenges to be aware of:

1. Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language-based learning difference; a person's brain has trouble matching the letters seen on the page with the sounds those letters and combinations of letters make. Individuals with dyslexia can experience difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing.

Mixing up letters in words, difficulty recalling information read, trouble sounding out words, and avoiding reading out loud are just a few of the warning signs to look for in a child who may have dyslexia.

MORE: Learning Strategies for Children With Dyslexia

Dyspraxia and ADHD can also piggyback on top of dyslexia. As with many learning challenges, they are usually associated with other differences.

Seeing others who live with this challenge can be inspiring, and help your kids realize they are not alone. For instance, did you know that some well-known children's authors, including Patricia Polacco and Dav Pilkey, are dyslexic? And get recommendations from Scholastic's librarian for great books that have a focus on learning differences.

2. Dysgraphia

Reading and writing go hand in hand. Dysgraphia impacts writing. Messy handwriting can be a sign of dysgraphia. With dysgraphia, there is a fine motor issue or a sequencing problem that causes the messy handwriting.

Forming letters and words, spelling, and organizing your thoughts on paper can all be impacted by dysgraphia.

If your child has dysgraphia, you may notice written work filled with erasures and cross-outs, trouble putting words on paper, and difficulty remembering grammar and usage rules.

Dysgraphia may be present alone or combined with other learning differences such as dyslexia and ADD.

3. Auditory Processing Disorder

A child with an auditory processing disorder struggles with understanding the sounds of spoken language. This can include discriminating between sounds, the ability to isolate speech amongst other sounds, and recalling sounds. Someone with an auditory processing disorder may have trouble with multi-step oral directions, be sensitive to environmental sounds, and often have trouble with spelling.

A language processing disorder is a specific type of auditory processing disorder in which a person has difficulty attaching meaning to sounds and words. Not being able to label an item with a specific name, feeling lost during a read-aloud, and having trouble responding to a question are common behaviors seen in someone dealing with a language processing disorder.

Again, an auditory processing disorder will often be related to other learning issues.

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month and is a good opportunity to learn more about more challenges that may impact your child's ability to read and write. If you have concerns or questions about your child's reading development, talk to your child's school and pediatrician. As a team, you can advocate for the best resources to help your child on his reading journey.

Connect with Jodie Rodriguez on her site, Growing Book by Book.

Featured Photo Credit: © danchooalex /iStockphoto

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