By the time dyslexic children reach first grade, around age 6 or 7, their reading skills are already way behind their peers, reports a new study. This disparity suggests later reading problems in children with dyslexia are caused by the lack of early intervention and not solely by worsening of dyslexia symptoms.
“If the persistent achievement gap between dyslexic and typical readers is to be narrowed, or even closed, reading interventions must be implemented early, when children are still developing the basic foundation for reading acquisition,” said Emilio Ferrer, a UC Davis psychology professor. He is lead author of the article published in The Journal of Pediatrics this month.
Ferror and his colleagues recommend starting reading programs in pre-school or kindergarten. During these early years “children are busily acquiring the raw materials for becoming a reader: knowledge of the alphabet, recognition of individual letters, and the ability to associate sounds with letters,” according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. So if children are struggling with the building blocks necessary to become good readers, they will remain behind their peers as they progress through school.
For more information about dyslexia and how you can help your child see:
Achievement Gap in Reading Is Present as Early as First Grade and Persists through Adolescence appears in the Journal of Pediatrics.