Jennibug asks:

Five year old can read but mixes up his letters

My five year old can read, simple books anyway, but mixes up his letters still, numbers too. And it's very inconsistent. Some days he knows them. Other days he doesn't. I suspect he's inherited the lovely dyslexia genes that seem to run in my family. I'm having him evaluated through the school but won't get the results for another month. I'm fairly certain, as is his teacher, that he has some sort of learning disability. What does it mean he can read but still mixes up his letters? What else is he going to have problems learning?
In Topics: Dyslexia, Visual processing disorder
> 60 days ago



Oct 8, 2011
Subscribe to Expert

What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk-

Please note that children who are five years old often mix up letters as part of the natural course of language development.  While this can be a concern to parents, it is usually not considered atypical unless there are other difficulties that are found through formal evaluations.  

What we do know that is that parents wish to keep their children motivated to learn. Therefore, in order to help your child feel more comfortable with reading and writing, you may wish to read a similar question/ answer posed here:

Good luck!

Louise Sattler, Psychologist

Did you find this answer useful?

Additional Answers (1)

LDSolutions , Child Professional writes:
Dyslexia is highly hereditary and if it runs in your family, it is a good idea to be on alert for your five year old.  Early intervention is the key to a dyslexic's success.  Getting him the help in Kindergarten - 2nd grade will ease the remediation process for him over the years.  Here are some common dyslexia warning signs to look for:

Warning Signs in Preschoolers

Late talking, compared to other children
Pronunciation problems, reversal of sounds in words - such as aminal for animal or gabrage for garbage
Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word takes a while to get the words out
Difficulty rhyming words
Trouble learning numbers, the alphabet, days of the week
Poor ability to follow directions or routines
Does not understand what you say until you repeat it a few times
Enjoys being read to but shows no interest in words or letters
Has weak fine motor skills in activities such as drawing, tying laces, cutting, and threading
Unstable pencil grip
Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization

Warning Signs in School Age Children

Has good memory skills
Has not shown a dominant handedness
Seems extremely intelligent but weak in reading
Reads a word on one page but doesn’t recognize it on the next page or the next day
Confuses look alike letters like b and d, b and p, n and u, or m and w.
Substitutes a word while reading that means the same thing but doesn’t look at all similar, like trip for journey or mom for mother.
When reading leaves out or adds small words like an, a, from, the, to, were, are and of.
Reading comprehension is poor because the child spends so much energy trying to figure out words.
Might have problems tracking the words on the lines, or following them across the pages.
Avoids reading as much as possible
Writes illegibly
Writes everything as one continuous sentence
Does not understand the difference between a sentence and a fragment of a sentence
Misspells many words
Uses odd spacing between words. Might ignore margins completely and pack sentences together on the page instead of spreading them out
Does not notice spelling errors
Is easily distracted or has a short attention span
Is disorganized
Has difficulties making sense of instructions
Fails to finish work on time
Appears lazy, unmotivated, or frustrated

Keep in mind that the sooner a child with dyslexia is given the proper instruction, particularly in the very early grades, the more likely it is that they will have fewer or milder difficulties later in life.
> 60 days ago

Did you find this answer useful?
Answer this question


You are about to choose ${username}'s answer as the best answer.

Cancel | Continue

*You can change the best answer in the future if you think that you received a better answer

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely