“Who gets reading disabilities? Well, anybody. It can happen to any socioeconomic group, any group, intellectual, smart, gifted, average. It really does occur in all types of learners. So many times children as early as four or five, six years old can be identified as children at risk for reading impairments or reading disabilities. Many times though, we don’t identify children until fourth, fifth, sixth grade, even into high school. And many times adults are not recognized as having a reading disability till they’re grown. What’s difficult about identifying early children is that many of them don’t yet have the reading skills. And so not any child has reading skills yet. So to compare them with their peers, it’s difficult to say, yes, you do have a reading disability. No, you do not. However, one thing the research has showed over the last couple of decades is that there’s these underlying skills that are great predictors of children that may have trouble to learn, to read.
For example, phonological awareness, the ability to understand sounds in a language and phonological awareness has many, many parts. The two most important parts are what we call segmenting and blending. So if we think about sounds in the word cat C, A, T, do you recognize those individual sounds, can you break them apart? Segmenting. And can you put them together? Blending. So that ability, even without understanding the letters of language for a four or five-year-old, if they understand the sounds, then that’s a great indicator of whether they will have trouble learning to read or not. Another great predictor is just children exposed to the alphabet. Do they understand the alphabet? And can they name names? Can they name objects quickly and easily? So rapid automatized, naming that’s another sound based language based skill that we can evaluate in young children as a predictor for whether reading may or may not be difficult for them as they do as they go through school.”