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Understanding Dyslexia

You likely know someone who struggles with reading. This shouldn’t really surprise us, because reading is a complex act. It involves a wide range of processes and skills that all have to act at once, in the right way, in order to achieve the desired outcome of understanding a piece of text.

For most of us, reading involves vision. Your eyes are currently moving across this text, back and forth, quite rapidly. In addition to this, reading involves an awareness of sound. When you began reading this article, you may have “heard” a voice (perhaps your own) reading the words to you within your mind. To make matters even more complicated, reading relies on concepts in your mind. To take a small word like “read” as an example:

  • You took in the shape of the word with your eyes
  • You connected this shape to a sound or set of possible sounds
  • You ruled out an incorrect one like “red” and selected the right one for this context: “read”
  • You put this item into the sentence in order to understand what the writer was telling you about reading

All of this should have happened more or less instantaneously. For some people, however, it doesn’t. For several reasons, some people have difficulty at one or more of the stages we described above. When this happens, it becomes difficult to assemble the meaning of a text. In an age where reading is a vital life skill, this can cause significant problems.

It’s important to point out that not all people who experience difficulty in reading have dyslexia. Obviously, being able to read and write well depends on adequate training. If you don’t receive this training, you will probably find it difficult to read. Similarly, some kinds of brain injury or impairment may make complex tasks like reading difficult to achieve. However, when a child’s reading skills lag behind their overall ability, dyslexia may be present.

But where is it present, why? In this article, we are going to consider:

Where does the term “dyslexia” come from?

The term dyslexia appeared for the first time in the late 19th century. Interestingly enough, an ophthalmologist came up with the term. He was working with adults who had lost their ability to read after a stroke. The term competed with “congenital word blindness” for some time. “Congenital” suggests an innate characteristic, and “blindness” suggests a deficit in something other than intelligence.

It was only some time later, in 1968, that the World Federation of Neurology met and defined dyslexia as a disorder in these terms:

A disorder manifested by difficulty in learning to read despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and socio-cultural opportunity. It is dependent upon fundamental cognitive disabilities which are frequently of constitutional origin.”

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia, in the most basic terms, is a difficulty with words. Like all words that start with dys it refers to a problem, deficiency, or lack. Lexia has to do with words and language. It shares an ancestry with other words like lecture. In particular, dyslexia refers to a difficulty with reading and writing words. This means that it’s possible for a dyslexic child to speak and understand language effortlessly but have significant difficulty reading and writing the same language.

Traditionally, dyslexia has been defined in terms of a discrepancy between actual reading performance and what would be expected based on the child’s intelligence. The ‘true dyslexic’ was typically a person who, despite struggling with reading, is above average in intelligence. When children are less intelligent, their reading troubles have been ascribed to their general intellectual limitations. 

Research, however, has shown that the distinction between the intellectually able dyslexic poor reader and the ‘garden-variety’ poor reader with an equally depressed cognitive profile, is no longer tenable. Using brain imaging scans, Tanaka et al. (2011) found that there was no difference between the way poor readers with or without dyslexia think while reading. Research results show that poor readers of all IQ levels showed significantly less brain activity in the six observed areas than typical readers. But there was no difference in the brains of the poor readers, regardless of their IQs. These findings were largely replicated by Simos et al. (2014). 

The Rose Report (2009) states that dyslexia can occur across the IQ range and that poor decoding skills require the same kinds of intervention irrespective of IQ. The Rose Report defines dyslexia as follows (p. 10):  

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed. Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points. Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor coordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organization, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia. A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well-founded intervention.

The DSM-5 uses the term ‘Specific Learning Disorder with impairment in reading’ to describe what others call dyslexia. It considers dyslexia “specific” for four reasons: it is not attributable to

  • an intellectual disability, generally estimated by an IQ score of 65-75;
  • a global developmental delay;
  • hearing or vision disorders; or
  • neurological or motor disorders.

Dyslexia is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points. Dyslexia, like hypertension, can thus vary in severity. The terms mild, moderate, and severe are commonly used to describe the degree:

  • Most adults show some blips and would be levels 1 or 2.
  • Levels 4 or 5 have difficulty in spelling and punctuation. If they maintain high levels of discipline, they can be successful.
  • Levels 6 or 7 have difficulty with spelling and reading textbooks. They can sometimes finish college, but it takes tremendous effort.
  • Levels 8 or 9 find academic learning almost impossible. It takes 2-3 times longer to finish assignments. They need constant help.

The most common subtypes of dyslexia include dysphonetic (also called phonological or auditory), dyseidetic (also named surface and visual), and deepDevelopmental dyslexia may be used to distinguish the problem in children and youth from similar problems experienced by persons after severe head injuries.

>>>>> Learn more about dyslexia types

What are the signs of dyslexia?

The complexity of learning disabilities, in general, makes it difficult to pinpoint a discrete set of definitive signs. This is further complicated by the fact that some behaviors or difficulties are interpreted differently depending on age and developmental stage. However, advances in dyslexia testing have enabled clinicians to link certain traits, behaviors, and deficits to the presence of dyslexia. Here is a list of some of the more common ones:

Linguistic signs

Children tend to develop language in a predictable series of stages and landmarks. This process has received a great deal of attention from psychologists and linguists, so it is fairly well understood. There is also a correlation between a failure to reach certain landmarks and difficulties with reading later on. While none of these are conclusive proof of dyslexia, they are worth noting if you observe them in your child:

Late language acquisition: Many dyslexic children exhibit a delay in language acquisition. Acquisition is the term linguists use to describe the process whereby you take on your first language. Children who take longer to grasp their first language may be at greater risk of dyslexia because this can indicate a deficit in phonological awareness.

Difficulty with rhyme: Most people learn short poems, songs, and nursery rhymes in early childhood. These are usually rich in rhyme, which serves two purposes. The first is that it enables memorization. It’s easier to remember the next line of a song if its end rhymes with the one preceding. The second is that it lays a foundation for the linking of sounds and symbols that comes later on. A dyslexic child may find it difficult to answer a question like: “can you think of a word that rhymes with hot?”

Problems with literacy

Once a child completes the process of acquiring a first language (usually around the age of 5), literacy is introduced through elementary schooling. The child must begin to learn to interpret written text. In order for this to happen, several other mental processes must be effortless and routine. If difficulties in any of these begin to appear as a child begins learning to read, this could indicate the need for a dyslexia test.

Learning sound-symbol relationships: Persistent difficulty in linking letter symbols to sounds can be an early indicator of dyslexia. Some children routinely give the wrong sound for a given letter symbol, even ones that are frequent. If this persists even when the symbol is written in large font, the problem may be a specific learning disability like dyslexia.

Difficulty blending: In English, and many other languages, each character in a written word represents one phoneme, or sound. You can think of a phoneme as a unit of sound that bears meaning. For example, the difference between /t/ and /d/ is a salient one for English speakers: “debt” and dead” are pronounced in similar ways, only the ending of the word differs – but the ending changes the meaning. To successfully deal with a word, a beginning reader must “blend” the sounds represented by the various symbols: the sequence t – a – p must become a single sound: “tap”. Dyslexia can make it difficult for the young reader to do this, even for very simple words.

Dyslexia example
The writings of a 10-year-old girl with severe dyslexia.

Difficulty substituting sounds: Just as they may struggle to blend sounds into words, dyslexics often do not readily do the opposite task of breaking words into separate sound segments. A task such as changing one sound for another may be very difficult: “change the ‘t’ in ‘tap’ into a ‘m’ to make a new word”.

Reading for comprehension: Effective reading involves more than accurate decoding of the text. The reader must understand what the text is saying. For this to happen, the reader must move at the right pace: too slow, and important information will be forgotten. Too fast, and the brain will not have adequate time to assemble meaning. Furthermore, the effort of decoding the words should not be so great that it leaves no time and energy for interpretation. Dyslexics, even those who are able to read adequately, might have significant difficulty putting the meaning of a text together. In young children, this can manifest in an inability to answer even very simple comprehension questions after reading a story.

Behavioral signs

In addition to language and literacy skills, a child’s behavior and non-verbal abilities can provide useful information about future reading outcomes. As with the previous examples, these are not conclusive, and you should not think of them as definite symptoms of dyslexia. But they are worth noting, and you should inform the examiner or assessor if you procure a dyslexia test for your child later on.

Retaining heard information: Dyslexic children often fail to follow verbal instructions. This can easily be mistaken for defiance or a deficit in hearing. But it might indicate a deficit in auditory memory, which is a crucial aspect of learning.

Motor skills: There appears to be a high rate of coincidence between dyslexia and difficulties with motor skills. These are the skills that we recruit in order to do things like sit and balance (gross motor), or hold and manipulate paper and pencils (fine motor). Dyslexic children frequently exhibit poor or below-average motor skills, which suggests a link between the two. Even though this isn’t very well understood, problems with physical control can be an early sign of a specific learning disability such as dyslexia or dysgraphia.

>>>> Learn more about dyslexia symptoms and signs

How common is dyslexia?

It can be difficult to ascertain whether a child is dyslexic. As a result, determining exactly how many people are dyslexic is a tricky thing. This is because the definition of dyslexia, as we have seen, is not precise in the way that many other disorders are. What unifies all dyslexic people is that they find it difficult to read effectively for understanding. But this can mean many things. For some, it means they struggle particularly with certain letter symbols. For others, it might mean that they can identify individual words but can’t read fluently. Others can read moderately well but without understanding.

It’s difficult to arrive at a concrete figure, but dyslexia seems to affect a large number of people. Most estimates place the number at between 4 and 12 percent of a population. According to the International Dyslexia Association, at least one in every ten otherwise able people has serious dyslexia problems.

What is the impact of dyslexia?

Poor reading skills cast a dark shadow. There is extensive evidence suggesting that learning to read is directly linked to a young child’s self-concept and mental well-being, and that children with hampered reading skills fare poorly academically. As the poor achiever’s hope for a fulfilling and productive life starts to diminish, they may start contributing to the overall numbers of school dropouts, single parents, juvenile delinquents, and imprisoned adults. As many as 75% of those incarcerated in the United States have not graduated from high school, and 70% are functionally illiterate and read below a fourth-grade level. In addition, underemployed and unemployed adults constitute a significant percentage of children who once failed to acquire functional levels of literacy.

Reading failure increases the risk of depression as well as suicidality.

Reading failure increases the risk of depression as well as suicidality. Fuller-Thomson et al. (2018) conducted a large representative survey of community-dwelling Canadians, which showed that one in every six women and one in every nine men with specific learning disorders (SLDs) had attempted suicide. Dyslexia or reading disability is the most common SLD, comprising 80% of all diagnosed SLDs. Fuller-Thomson et al. concluded that people with SLDs had 46% higher odds of having ever attempted suicide in comparison with their peers without SLDs, even after controlling for many of the known risk factors for suicide attempts.

Strong reading skills, on the other hand, have been tied to many personal, social and economic benefits. In a large, population-representative sample from the United Kingdom, reading ability at the early age of seven was linked to socio-economic status at age 42. Participants who had higher reading skills as children had higher incomes, better housing, and more desirable jobs in adulthood. The data suggest, for example, that achieving one reading level higher at age seven was associated with a £5,000 increase in income at the age of 42.

What causes dyslexia?

Some research suggests that dyslexia has a neurobiological basis. This means that its cause is in the brain. The cerebellum, a brain structure traditionally considered to be involved in motor function, has been implicated in developmental dyslexia. New research, however, shows that the cerebellum is not engaged during reading in typical readers and does not differ in children who have dyslexia (Ashburn et al., 2019).

In a meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies of dyslexia, Martin et al. (2016) list studies in which differences between groups with and without dyslexia were found in specific brain regions. The most consistent findings concerned the left occipitotemporal cortex, which includes the so-called visual word form area (VWFA), though to be critical for reading.

The left inferior parietal lobule came in a close second in the meta-analysis study by Martin and colleagues. This part of the brain is said to be involved in word analysis, grapheme-to-phoneme conversion, and general phonological and semantic processing. Imaging also reveals compensatory overactivation in other parts of the reading system. The compensatory neural systems allow a dyslexic person to read more accurately. However, the critical visual word-form area remains disrupted and difficulties with rapid, fluent, automatic reading persist. The dyslexic continues to read slowly.

A neurological basis goes some way in explaining why some children fail to achieve despite having adequate training and support. It also provides a way to make sense of the common occurrence of dyslexia within families. A large-scale study of twins with dyslexia yielded a concordance rate of 68% in identical twins, as compared with 38% in non-identical twins, indicating a substantial genetic component (DeFries & Alarcón, 1996).

It should be noted that brain differences do not equal brain disorders (Protopapas & Parrila, 2018), and some studies suggest that the cause-effect relationship is reversed, in other words, that anatomical brain differences are not the cause of reading difficulties, but the consequence (Krafnick et al., 2014). It should also be noted that the brain is plastic, which means that it is constantly changing as a result of learning, experience, and memory formation.

Named neuroplasticity, this science has found that new brain cells are constantly being born and die, new connections can form, and the internal structure of the existing synapses can change. In 90 percent of people, the left hemisphere controls the capacity to understand and generate language. Even if the left hemisphere of a person’s brain is severely injured, the right side of the brain can take over some language functions. When a person becomes an expert in a specific domain, he will have growth in the areas of the brain that are involved in that particular skill.

Although some causes of dyslexia have a genetic origin, and environmental factors play an important role, cognition mediates brain-behavior relationships and therefore offers a sufficient level of explanation for the development of principled interventions. We thus need to understand the cognitive difficulties that underpin reading failure, regardless of whether their origin is constitutional or environmental (Elliott & Grigorenko, 2014).

>>>> Learn more about dyslexia causes

What cognitive difficulties underpin reading failure?

Di dunia kini kita, tiap orang harus dapat membaca….

Unless one has first learned to speak Bahasa Indonesia, there is no way that one would be able to read the above Indonesian sentence.

This shows that language is at the very bottom of the reading ladder. Its role in reading can be compared to the role of running in the game of soccer or ice-skating in the game of ice hockey. One cannot play soccer if one cannot run, and one cannot play ice hockey if one cannot skate. One cannot read a book in a language – and least of all write – unless one knows the particular language.

While language skills comprise the first rung of the reading ladder, cognitive skills comprise the second. Multiple cognitive skills are involved in learning to read, spell and write. Below are examples: 

Phonological awareness

Phonological awareness (PA) is commonly defined as the ability to identify and consciously manipulate the sound units of language. It is a listening skill that includes the ability to distinguish units of speech, such as rhymes, syllables in words, and individual phonemes in syllables. Phonological awareness is often confused with phonics, but it is different. Phonics requires students to know and match letters or letter patterns with sounds, learn the rules of spelling, and use this information to decode (read) and encode (write) words. Phonological awareness relates only to speech sounds, not to alphabet letters or sound-spellings, so students don’t need to have alphabet knowledge to develop a basic phonological awareness of language.

The PA-reading relationship has been extensively studied. For years, research has promoted the idea that explicit awareness of phonemes is crucial for reading development. 

Rapid automatized naming

Research on rapid automatized naming (RAN) began with the work of Denckla and Rudel. RAN refers to the speed with which the names of symbols (letters, numbers, colors, or pictured objects) can be retrieved from long-term memory. People with dyslexia typically score poorer on RAN assessments than normal readers. 

A meta-analysis of 137 studies of 28,826 participants indicated a moderate-to-strong relationship between RAN and reading performance. Further analyses revealed that RAN contributes to the four measures of reading (word reading, text reading, non-word reading, and reading comprehension), but higher coefficients emerged in favor of real-word reading and text reading. The authors conclude that there is “still no consensus regarding the mechanisms responsible for this relationship” (Araújo et al., 2015, p. 869).

Processing speed

Processing speed can be defined as how long it takes to get stuff done.

Dyslexia is linked to slow processing speed. Sigmundsson and his colleagues at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim gave two simulated driving tests to six dyslexic volunteers and 11 other people. They were shown road signs as they drove on simulated country and city roads at different speeds.

The researchers found that the drivers with dyslexia were 20 percent slower to react to traffic signs during the rural drive and 30 percent slower to react in the city than the non-dyslexic controls.

Auditory working memory

The term working memory was coined in the 1970s by two researchers named Baddeley and Hitch, referring to the ability to temporarily hold several facts or thoughts in memory while solving a problem or performing a task. You use this workspace in your brain when mentally adding or subtracting two or more numbers.

Weiss and colleagues (2014) tested 52 musicians, of which 24 have dyslexia and 28 who don’t, and compared the performance of the two groups in a variety of auditory tests. On most tests of auditory processing, the dyslexic musicians scored as well as their nondyslexic counterparts, and better than the general population. Where they performed much worse was on tests of auditory working memory, including memory for rhythm, melody, and speech sounds. Moreover, these abilities were intercorrelated, and highly correlated with their reading accuracy, which means that the dyslexic musicians with the poorest working memory tended to have the lowest reading accuracy. Those with better working memory tended to be more accurate.

An important and consistent finding is that working memory problems interfere with reading comprehension. Reading is a complex skill that requires the simultaneous activation of many different brain processes.

Visual memory

Visual memory involves the ability to store and retrieve previously experienced visual sensations and perceptions when the stimuli that originally evoked them are no longer present. That is, the person must be capable of making a vivid visual image in his mind of the stimulus, such as a word, and once that stimulus is removed, to be able to visualize or recall this image without help.

Strong visual memory is a critical skill for word recognition. Skilled readers can recognize words at a lightning-fast speed when they read because the words have been placed in a sort of “visual dictionary.” The visual dictionary idea rebuts the theory that our brain “sounds out” words each time we see them.

Glezer and her coauthors (2016) tested word recognition in 27 volunteers in two different experiments using fMRI. They were able to see that words that are different but sound the same (like “hare” and “hair”), activate different neurons, akin to accessing different entries in a dictionary’s catalog. If the sounds of the word influenced this part of the brain we would expect to see that they activate the same or similar neurons, but this was not the case; ‘hair’ and ‘hare’ looked just as different as ‘hair’ and ‘soup’. This suggests that, once we know a word, we use the visual information of a word and not the sounds. Also, the researchers found a different distinct region that was sensitive to the sounds, where ‘hair’ and ‘hare’ did look the same.

Sequential memory

Sequential memory requires items to be recalled in a specific order. In saying the days of the week, months of the year, a telephone number, the alphabet, and in counting, the order of the elements is of paramount importance. Visual sequential memory is the ability to remember things seen in sequence, while auditory sequential memory is the ability to remember things heard in sequence.

Since every word consists of letters in a specific sequence, sequential memory is of great importance in the reading process. To read one has to perceive the letters in sequence, and also remember what word is represented by that sequence of letters. By simply changing the sequence of the letters in name, it can become mean or amen.

Guthrie and Goldberg investigated relationships between visual sequential memory and reading in 81 normal and 43 disabled readers. The children had normal intelligence and a mean reading grade of 2.5. The mean chronological age of the normal readers was 8.5 years, and the mean of the reading disabled 10.3. Partial correlations between three tests of visual sequential memory and three tests of reading were computed. Significant, positive associations were identified between visual sequential memory and paragraph comprehension, oral reading, and word recognition.

A study by Stanley et al. compared 33 dyslexic and 33 control eight- to 12-year-old children and found the dyslexic children to be inferior to controls on tasks involving visual sequential memory and auditory sequential memory.

Logical thinking

Logical thinking is the process in which one uses reasoning consistently to come to a conclusion. Problems or situations that involve logical thinking call for structure, for relationships between facts, and for chains of reasoning that “make sense.”

The relationship between logical thinking and reading comprehension is well established in the literature. It has been said that “there is no reading without reasoning,” and even that reading is reasoning.

How is dyslexia diagnosed?

A diagnosis of dyslexia can only be made after an extensive evaluation. This evaluation looks at a child’s ability to read, in addition to other factors such as general academic ability and family background. Typically, a large amount of information is required and the person administering the evaluation or assessment will take the child through a series of tests. This thoroughness is necessary because it’s important to rule out other possibilities.

Remember, it’s possible for someone to read poorly and not be dyslexic. A child may have a disruptive home life that has made learning difficult. Or, there might be a significant intellectual impairment. Neither of these is the same as dyslexia. To eliminate these and other possibilities, an assessment must take a wide range of information into account.

In many countries, the ability to diagnose dyslexia is limited to certain qualified professionals. In the United States, there is no overarching law that defines who may provide a diagnosis. Generally, however, there is an understanding that one test on its own cannot be an adequate basis for a dyslexia diagnosis. For example, an audiologist may determine that a child has difficulty with auditory processing. This may be the cause of a child’s reading difficulty, but it is unwise to assume so based on one test alone. The practitioners and clinicians who typically give dyslexia diagnoses use a battery of tests and measurements.

>>>> Learn more about diagnosing dyslexia

Can dyslexia go undetected?

Sometimes, specific learning disabilities like dyslexia can be hard to detect. Some children evade a diagnosis because they have exceptional abilities and can therefore mask their dyslexia.  They feature in the literature as “twice exceptional” cases, because they are above average in ability and intelligence, while living with specific learning disabilities. Another common term is “stealth dyslexia,” Some signs of this include:

  • A significant difference between verbal expression (high) and writing ability (low)
  • Extremely illegible handwriting
  • A tendency to “supply” words rather than reading what is actually on the page

Children in this category often underachieve despite their high intelligence and sophisticated problem-solving abilities. If there is a substantial and unaccountable gap between your child’s ability and your child’s achievement at school, it might be unwise to rule out dyslexia as an underlying cause.

What other conditions can occur with dyslexia?

As various fields of study converged on the problem of dyslexia, experts began to discover relationships between dyslexia and other conditions. In many cases, a person who has dyslexia will also experience at least one other condition or disorder.

Practitioners call these Specific Learning Disorders (SLDs) and estimate that the co-occurrence of conditions is actually typical. Generally, practitioners and clinicians talk about “co-occurrence,” which avoids the difficult question of whether one causes the other. The most important thing for parents to know is that a dyslexic child might experience more than one SLD. Some of the more well known of these are:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Children who show difficulty concentrating, resisting impulses, or completing tasks may receive a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). There is a wide range of opinions on the causes and treatment of ADHD, but it is clear that poor impulse control has a major effect on learning in general, and cognitively demanding tasks like reading in particular.

Dyscalculia: Dyscalculia is a term used to describe difficulties with number concepts and math. Children with this problem may have difficulty performing basic mathematical operations. At a more basic level, they might find it hard to recall objects in a sequence or recognize patterns.

Dysgraphia: The term dysgraphia is used to describe a variety of difficulties with writing. In young children, these include problems with holding a pencil, forming letters, and spelling words correctly. Dysgraphic writing often contains irregular letter spacing and sizing. Words and sentences may also appear skewed, rather than formed in a straight line. In older children, it can manifest in a tendency to write sentences that are either grammatically incorrect or incomplete.

Dyspraxia: Dyspraxia refers to difficulty with coordination and movement. It is also classified as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Children who receive a diagnosis of dyspraxia typically have difficulty manipulating objects with their hands, or moving in a deliberate and coordinated way. This shows up in tasks such as climbing stairs or skipping. Children who lag behind developmental milestones such as crawling may be at risk of dyspraxia. Many of the symptoms that older children present are the same as those of other specific learning disabilities, such as difficulty concentrating or completing tasks.

What can parents do to help their children?

If your child is having trouble learning to read, the best approach is to take immediate action. Ninety-five percent of poor readers can be brought up to grade-level if they receive effective help early. The longer you wait to get help for a child with reading difficulties, the harder it will be for that child to catch up.

Reading consultant Susan Hall urges parents to trust their intuition. “I have listened to parent after parent tell me about feeling there was a problem earlier on, yet being persuaded to discount their intuition and wait to seek help for their child,” she says. “Later, when they learned time is of the essence in developing reading skills, the parents regretted the lost months or years.”

What is the best treatment for dyslexia?

The best treatment for dyslexia combines cognitive skills training with teaching decoding and the development of orthographic mapping. Decoding is a key skill for learning to read, and involves taking apart the sounds in words (segmenting) and blending sounds together. The process of orthographic mapping involves the brain linking the three forms of a word — its sounds, spelling, and meaning — and storing them together in long-term memory. It allows for instant word recognition, fluent reading, and accurate spelling.

Edublox Online Tutor is an online platform that houses a range of products and services to improve various aspects of learning. Our programs include Development Tutor, Reading Tutor, and Live Tutor. Live Tutor combined with Development Tutor is recommended for students with mild to severe dyslexia, and targets:

  • strengthening cognitive skills;
  • teaching decoding; and
  • developing orthographic mapping.

Watch our playlist of customer reviews and see how Edublox training and tutoring can help turn dyslexia around.

Book a free consultation to discuss your child’s learning needs.

Authored by Susan du Plessis (B.A. Hons Psychology; B.D.), an educational specialist with 30+ years’ experience in the field of learning disabilities, and Dylan Arslanian (B.A. Hons Linguistics, Cambridge DELTA).
Medically reviewed by Dr. Zelda Strydom (MBChB).

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