While humans are genetically and neurologically hard-wired for speech, this is not true for reading, which must be learned through conscious effort. Nemours BrightStart! is designed to identify preschoolers at risk for reading challenges.

Warning Signs for Reading Failure

Some “at-risk” warning signs in children,
4 to 6 years old, include difficulty with:
  • identifying letter names and sounds
  • reading and writing his/her name
  • rhyming
  • separating and blending word parts
  • reading several words

Dyslexia: A Bright Mind That Learns Differently

Dyslexia, a specific type of learning disability generally diagnosed when a child is about 8 years old or in the third grade, is a neurodevelopmental reading disorder caused by subtle disturbances in brain structure and function.

Dyslexia is:
  • Not caused by brain damage.
  • Not caused by, or a sign of, low IQ.
  • Not caused by vision problems, a major misconception being that the eyes or brain “flip” letters (reversed or flipped letters and words can be a part of dyslexia, but not in every case).
  • Not a sign of low motivation or laziness.

Dyslexia is fundamentally a language-based disorder. People with dyslexia have difficulty analyzing and blending letter sounds within words, and building a large bank of easily recognized words.

Functional brain imaging studies have shown that dyslexic brains work differently than normal brains when reading occurs. However, after intensive instruction, dyslexic brains begin to function more like normal brains when reading.

Risk Factors for Reading Problems

While reading problems occur across all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic levels and in all written languages, there are specific risk factors:

  • family history of dyslexia or other learning disabilities
  • low parental reading level
  • preschool language disorder, especially language comprehension disorder
  • attentional, behavioral or emotional problems that affect learning
  • poverty and attendance at schools with a high poverty rate

Nemours BrightStart! is designed to engage educators, parents and health professionals with science-based resources that identify early warning signs and provide the tools to help young children with early literacy difficulties respond and adapt, which closes the reading readiness gap with their peers and prevents a possible future of reading failure. Read More »