Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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A Division of the Arkansas Department of Education

How do I know if my child is a struggling reader?

Parent Resource Center

Knowing what reading on grade level looks like for your child could help indicate whether or not your child is a struggling reader. There are certain skills students should master at different grade levels. One way to find these skills would be to look at the grade level standards.  More information about what your child is doing at school and what they should know and be able to do is available on our Ways to Help section

 How do I know If my child Is a struggling reader?

Remember that children learn in different ways and at different rates.

Language or Speech Problems

Children with delayed speech, who say very few words, who have trouble pronouncing words, or who have difficulty expressing feelings verbally may have trouble learning to read.

Hearing Impairment

Children who have difficulty hearing the individual sounds in words may have trouble understanding how those sounds connect with letters in written words.

Communicating With the Teacher

As a parent, you can learn a lot about your child's learning and watch for signs of possible problems. Here are some things to look for and discuss with his/her teacher:
  • Starting at age 3 or 4: Does your child remember nursery rhymes and can he/she play rhyming games?
  • At about age 4: Does your child have difficulty getting information from books that are read aloud to him/her?
  • Kindergartners: Is your child beginning to name and write the letters and numbers that he/she sees in signs, books, billboards, and other places?  Does your child have difficulty following multi-step directions or retelling a story?
  • At age 5: Can your child play and enjoy simple word games that use alliteration, in which two or more words start with the same sound? For example: "Name all the animals you can think of that start with 'w'."
  • At ages 5 and 6: Does your child act as if he/she understands that spoken words can be broken down into smaller parts (for example, noticing big in bigger)? Does he/she seem to understand that you can change a small part of a word and make it something very different (for example, by changing the first letter of a word like cat, you can make hat and bat and so on)?

How do I know if my child is dyslexic?

Your child will exhibit certain characteristics that will help others diagnose the student as a dyslexic reader. Dyslexic children are often bright, highly intelligent, and artistic. The inability to read doesn’t seem to equate with their high IQ or other abilities.  Each K-2 child in the state of Arkansas is screened for dyslexia.
If your child is above 2nd grade and exhibiting some of the characteristics of dyslexia, which are outlined in one of the questions below, you can request that the school screen your child for dyslexia. 
Arkansas passed a dyslexia law in 2015 that defines dyslexia and outlines the testing and intervention processes available to public school students.  

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological 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. See Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-41-602.
The ADE has created a dyslexia video showing how you can find more information about dyslexia.

What is the dyslexia law?

The Arkansas State Legislature enacted Act 1294 of the 2013 regular session to ensure that children with dyslexia have their needs met by all Arkansas public school systems.  Act 1268 of 2015 amended parts of the original legislation. The legislation defines dyslexia, describes required screening and intervention, and lists required actions of the state, education cooperatives, and school districts.  

Arkansas Dyslexia Resource Guide

The purpose of the Arkansas Dyslexia Resource Guide is to provide school districts, public schools, and teachers with the guidance to meet Ark. Code Ann. § 6-41-601 et seq. This guide clarifies the Arkansas Department of Education Rules Governing How to Meet the Needs of Children with Dyslexia related to the assessment, identification, and services for dyslexic students. The latest version of the Resource Guide can be found in the related files section of the ADE Dyslexia webpage.

School Age Dyslexia Screener

The screener is a short questionnaire based on Colorado Learning Disabilities Questionnaire – Reading Subscale to determine if your child is at risk for dyslexia, and can be accessed at the following link:

Get Ready to Read

The National Center for Learning Disabilities provides a 20 question, web-based screening tool that can be used to provide information about a four-year old's pre-reading skills.  This tool can be found at the following link:

What can I do if I think my child is dyslexic?

Reading Rockets provides guidance.

What can I do if my child has been diagnosed with dyslexia?

Read "My Child Was Just Diagnosed with Dyslexia.  Now What?" to learn more about steps to take after a child has been diagnosed with dyslexia.
An article that identifies some of the early indicators for reading difficulty can be accessed at the following link: 

Where else can I find more information about struggling readers?

For more ways to help your struggling reader at home, read “Helping Struggling Readers.”
For more dyslexia warning signs, read “Dyslexia: What You’re Seeing.”
How do I know if my child is a struggling reader?
What is my child learning at school?
How can I help my child at home?


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State Standards

Learn more about the standards that define the knowledge and skills Arkansas students should have in order to be ready for college and careers.

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