Kelly Moore 903-845-5509

    504 Administrators
    Sherrill Ballard/Elementary 903-845-3481
    David Chatterton/JH/HS 903-845-5506

    Dyslexia Instructors
    Kimberly Ellisor 903-845-3481
    Becky Armstrong 903-845-3481


    Texas Education Code (TEC) §38.003 defines dyslexia and related disorders in the following way: “Dyslexia” means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity. “Related disorders” include disorders similar to or related to dyslexia, such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability. TEC §38.003(d)(1)-(2) (1995) http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.38.htm#38.003 

    The International Dyslexia Association defines “dyslexia” in the following way: Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, November 12, 2002 

    The following are the primary reading/spelling characteristics of dyslexia: 

    • Difficulty reading words in isolation • Difficulty accurately decoding unfamiliar words 
    • Difficulty with oral reading (slow, inaccurate, or labored without prosody) 
    • Difficulty spelling 

    It is important to note that individuals demonstrate differences in degree of impairment and may not exhibit all the characteristics listed above. 

    The reading/spelling characteristics are most often associated with the following: 

    • Segmenting, blending, and manipulating sounds in words (phonemic awareness) 
    • Learning the names of letters and their associated sounds 
    • Holding information about sounds and words in memory (phonological memory) 
    • Rapidly recalling the names of familiar objects, colors, or letters of the alphabet (rapid naming) Consequences of dyslexia may include the following: 
    • Variable difficulty with aspects of reading comprehension 
    • Variable difficulty with aspects of written language 
    • Limited vocabulary growth due to reduced reading experiences

    Common Risk Factors Associated with Dyslexia
    If the following behaviors are unexpected for an individual’s age, educational level, or cognitive abilities, they may be risk factors associated with dyslexia. A student with dyslexia usually exhibits several of these behaviors that persist over time and interfere with his/her learning. A family history of dyslexia may be present; in fact, recent studies reveal that the whole spectrum of reading disabilities is strongly determined by genetic predispositions (inherited aptitudes) (Olson, Keenan, Byrne, & Samuelsson, 2014). The following characteristics identify risk factors associated with dyslexia at different stages or grade levels. 


    • Delay in learning to talk 
    • Difficulty with rhyming 
    • Difficulty pronouncing words (e.g., “pusgetti” for “spaghetti,” “mawn lower” for “lawn mower”) 
    • Poor auditory memory for nursery rhymes and chants 
    • Difficulty adding new vocabulary words 
    • Inability to recall the right word (word retrieval) 
    • Trouble learning and naming letters and numbers and remembering the letters in his/ her name 
    • Aversion to print (e.g., doesn’t enjoy following along if a book is read aloud) Kindergarten and First Grade 
    • Difficulty breaking words into smaller parts, or syllables (e.g., “baseball” can be pulled apart into “base” “ball” or “napkin” can be pulled apart into “nap” “kin”) • Difficulty identifying and manipulating sounds in syllables (e.g., “man” sounded out as /m/ /ă/ /n/) 
    • Difficulty remembering the names of letters and recalling their corresponding sounds
    • Difficulty decoding single words (reading single words in isolation) 
    • Difficulty spelling words the way they sound (phonetically) or remembering letter sequences in very common words seen often in print (e.g., “sed” for “said”) 

    Second Grade and Third Grade 
    Many of the previously described behaviors remain problematic along with the following: 

    • Difficulty recognizing common sight words (e.g., “to,” “said,” “been”) 
    • Difficulty decoding single words 
    • Difficulty recalling the correct sounds for letters and letter patterns in reading 
    • Difficulty connecting speech sounds with appropriate letter or letter combinations and omitting letters in words for spelling (e.g., “after” spelled “eftr”) 
    • Difficulty reading fluently (e.g., reading is slow, inaccurate, and/or without expression) 
    • Difficulty decoding unfamiliar words in sentences using knowledge of phonics 
    • Reliance on picture clues, story theme, or guessing at words 
    • Difficulty with written expression 

    Fourth Grade through Sixth Grade 
    Many of the previously described behaviors remain problematic along with the following: 

    • Difficulty reading aloud (e.g., fear of reading aloud in front of classmates) 
    • Avoidance of reading (particularly for pleasure) 
    • Difficulty reading fluently (e.g., reading is slow, inaccurate, and/or without expression) 
    • Difficulty decoding unfamiliar words in sentences using knowledge of phonics 
    • Acquisition of less vocabulary due to reduced independent reading 
    • Use of less complicated words in writing that are easier to spell than more appropriate words (e.g., “big” instead of “enormous”) 
    • Reliance on listening rather than reading for comprehension 

    Middle School and High School 
    Many of the previously described behaviors remain problematic along with the following: 

    • Difficulty with the volume of reading and written work 
    • Frustration with the amount of time required and energy expended for reading 
    • Difficulty reading fluently (e.g., reading is slow, inaccurate, and/or without expression) 
    • Difficulty decoding unfamiliar words in sentences using knowledge of phonics 
    • Difficulty with written assignments 
    • Tendency to avoid reading (particularly for pleasure) 
    • Difficulty learning a foreign language 

    Some students will not be identified as having dyslexia prior to entering college. The early years of reading difficulties evolve into slow, labored reading fluency. Many students will experience extreme frustration and fatigue due to the increasing demands of reading as the result of dyslexia. In making a diagnosis for dyslexia, a student’s reading history, familial/genetic predisposition, and assessment history are critical. 

    Many of the previously described behaviors may remain problematic along with the following: 

    • Difficulty pronouncing names of people and places or parts of words 
    • Difficulty remembering names of people and places 
    • Difficulty with word retrieval 
    • Difficulty with spoken vocabulary 
    • Difficulty completing the reading demands for multiple course requirements 
    • Difficulty with note taking
    • Difficulty with written production 
    • Difficulty remembering sequences (e.g., mathematical and/or scientific formulas) 


    A review of recent evidence indicates that dysgraphia is best defined as a neurodevelopmental disorder manifested by illegible and/or inefficient handwriting due to difficulty with letter formation. This difficulty is the result of deficits in graphomotor function (hand movements used for writing) and/or storing and retrieving orthographic codes (letter forms) (Berninger, 2015). Secondary consequences may include problems with spelling and written expression. The difficulty is not solely due to lack of instruction and is not associated with other developmental or neurological conditions that involve motor impairment.

    The characteristics of dysgraphia include the following: 

    • Variably shaped and poorly formed letters 
    • Excessive erasures and cross-outs 
    • Poor spacing between letters and words 
    • Letter and number reversals beyond early stages of writing 
    • Awkward, inconsistent pencil grip 
    • Heavy pressure and hand fatigue 
    • Slow writing and copying with legible or illegible handwriting (Andrews & Lombardino, 2014) 

    Additional consequences of dysgraphia may also include: 

    • Difficulty with unedited written spelling 
    • Low volume of written output as well as problems with other aspects of written expression 

    Dysgraphia is not: 

    • Evidence of a damaged motor nervous system 
    • Part of a developmental disability that has fine motor deficits (e.g., intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy) 
    • Secondary to a medical condition (e.g., meningitis, significant head trauma, brain trauma) • Association with generalized developmental motor or coordination difficulties (Developmental Coordination Disorder) 
    • Impaired spelling or written expression with typical handwriting (legibility and rate) (Berninger, 2004) 

    Dysgraphia can be due to: 

    • Impaired feedback the brain is receiving from the fingers 
    • Weaknesses using visual processing to coordinate hand movement and organize the use of space 
    • Problems with motor planning and sequencing 
    • Difficulty with storage and retrieval of letter forms (Levine, 1999)


    The Dyslexia Handbook 2021 Update - English

    The Dyslexia Handbook 2021 Update - Spanish