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(Learning Disorders: Reading)

Reading Skill Overview

Patient Comments

Reading is a complicated process, involving recognition of symbols of language in a printed form. It is not an innate skill, but rather must be learned. Written words bear no meaning until the reader constructs meaning by making inferences and interpretations.

Acquisition of reading skills is closely tied to development of language in children. The ability to break down words into individual sounds or phonemes, is the core skill that needs to be mastered in order to be a fluent reader. This is called "phonemic awareness." For example, in reading the word "CAT," one must be aware of its component graphemes, and then break it down into the phonemes C/Ah/T. Then one must blend the phonemes back into the spoken word "CAT" which is then produced. This process is called "decoding." It sounds complicated, and it is. Yet most children with access to instruction and in the absence of sensory or other neurological deficits master this skill easily.

But for about 10-15% of children, this basic process is impaired often leading to lifelong struggles with reading. These are individuals with the learning disability called "Reading Disorder." It is also popularly known as dyslexia.

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Dyslexia (Reading Disorder):

Dyslexia (Reading Disorder) - Experience

Please describe your experience with dyslexia (reading disorder).

Dyslexia - Treatment

Do you have experience with these treatments for dyslexia (Slingerland Method, the Orton-Gillingham Method, Project READ, or others)? Were they effective?

Dyslexia (Reading Disorder) - Symptoms

Please describe the symptoms you experienced with dyslexia (reading disorder)?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Learning Disorder: Reading »

The first description of a specific reading disability was an 1896 case study in the British medical literature of a "bright and intelligent boy" who had great difficulty learning to read.

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